nickpoole[This week’s post is written by Nick Poole, CEO, Collections Trust]

It’s been quite a week for Digital cultural heritage!

The first stop was a series of new funding calls from various UK and European agencies. Those of you interested in online access and innovation should take a look at the JISC call on Access to Resources and Open Innovation.

Further afield, the European Commission’s ICT Policy Support Programme gathers pace, with a number of consortia working on proposals for the Digital Libraries (French for ‘online collections’) strand. The Collections Trust is responsible for two consortia, working on Digitisation and Orphan Works, and we’re in discussion about several others. More information is available here.

Every two years, the UK has to report to the European Commission on our work towards a set of Recommendations for Digitisation and Online Accessibility of Cultural Material. I have been writing the report on behalf of DCMS, and in spite of the catchy title, it’s been a great opportunity to take a look at the breadth of work going on in UK museums, archives and libraries.

This work is also helping to inform another project we’re doing with Flow Associates looking at the digital landscape on behalf of a UK-based funder. We’re hoping to be working with a range of funders in the next 6 months to help define the next generation of digital funding programmes.

Elsewhere, the Digital Economy Bill continues alternately to limp and sprint as it moves from the House of Lords to be debated in the Commons. Partly due to this, the DCMS asked Jon Drori to organise a Digital seminar at Tate Modern, which provided a great opportunity to catch up with current developments.

The seminar was attended by Margaret Hodge, and highlight of the day was Lynn Brindley of the British Library talking about business models for digital content. I used my slot as an opportunity to talk about the economics of running a picture library, and to argue that we need a new kind of business model to justify the public investment in digital content creation.

Other key highlights of my week have included the Committee meeting for the Digital Learning Network and meeting up with Jane Finnis of Culture24 and Peter Tullin of CultureLabel to talk about collaborative projects and supporting ecommerce and entrepreneurship in museums.

Over at the Collections Trust, we’re gearing up for the relaunch of Collections Link, due at the end of March, and the Culture Grid website which will launch in April as a showcase of applications being created from cultural data. We’re providing an API to collections and object records for the Rewired Culture hack day on the 27th March and I’m really excited to see what develops from that.

I couldn’t sign off the blog, however, without a nod to Sharper Investment for Changing Times – the new report from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), which was published on Thursday.

Essentially a manifesto for cultural services in the post-Election environment of public spending cuts, the report sets out a number of challenges to the sector. As a community of people thinking and creating a Digital future for museums, I’d welcome a debate among the MCG about how we can use technology and social media to help meet these challenges. The report can be downloaded from