The press release.

June 27, 2006

Leading Culture Bodies Create Semantic Web Thinktank  

The Museums Computer Group, MDA and the 24 Hour Museum have joined forces with the Department of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester to create the museum and gallery sector’s first Semantic Web Thinktank.

The Semantic Web is a set of related technologies which make it easier to find and share information online. The objective of the Thinktank is to identify the key challenges and opportunities for museums and to define how the culture sector should respond to them.

The Semantic Web Thinktank brings together experts from a wide range of disciplines, including museum policy and management, cataloguing and computational science. It has been funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Over the next ten months, a group of around 10 to 15 semantic web experts and museum professionals will gather in a series of closely documented meetings around the UK to explore the ways forward for the sector into this more digitally connected future.

The workshops will be launched at an open meeting at the UK Museums on the Web Conference in Leicester on July 7, 2006. Interested parties can register to attend the inaugural meeting in Leicester by visiting:
http://mcg.man.ac.uk/meetings/2-2006-sw-form.shtml.

Ross Parry, lecturer in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, and chair of its Digital Heritage Research Group, commented, “The Semantic Web Thinktank is an important development for museums. Over the next few years, these technologies will come to define how people find and share our resources. It is vital that we are able to bring together the key players from across the culture and other sectors to make sure that we are ready for them”.

Mike Lowndes, Interactive Media Manager at the Natural History Museum and Chair of the Thinktank’s core group said “I consider that the Semantic Web will form a major platform for how cultural digital content will be delivered and used in the future, but like many people am not sure how it will happen or how Museums can get engaged practically. This initiative is set to ask these questions and the Museum is excited to take part.”

The Semantic Web Thinktank will be working over the next 12 months to produce a vision statement and workplan which will be disseminated throughout the sector.

Notes

The Semantic Web is the name for a group of related technologies which enable meaningful information to be shared via the Internet. For further information about the Semantic Web, visit http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/.

The Semantic Web Thinktank falls under the project ‘UK Museums and the Semantic Web’, funded as part of the Arts & Humanities Research Council’s Research Workshops (Museums and Galleries) Scheme.  For more information about the scheme visit http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/apply/research/research_networks_workshops.asp

 For further information, or to interview a representative of the Thinktank, contact Ross Parry at rdp5@leicester.ac.uk


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