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The Role of Cultural Portals in the Context of Converging Digital Culture

Aleksandra Uzelac orcid id ; IMO-Institut za međunarodne odnose, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: engleski doc 408 Kb

str. 5-43

preuzimanja: 788



This article investigates the role of cultural portals in the context of converg¬ing digital culture against the background of convergence theory and network reality. Today digital trends are increasingly interloping with the world of culture and arts, involving different aspects of convergence of cultures, media and information technologies, and influencing new forms of communication. This provides a context for developing of new working practices in cultural sector that, in the past decade, has been manifested in construction of cultural portals. The article analyses the findings of an international survey of cultural portals that the author has conducted on behalf of the Culturemondo Network and the Culturelink Network, in the first half of 2009. The aim of the survey was to look at cultural portals in an international context. It has incorporated answers from over 100 cultural portals from Europe, Americas, Asia, Austra¬lia and Africa that provided data on their working context. Based on the in-formation gathered in the survey, the article examines trends related to cul¬tural portals and the ways cultural sector adapt itself to new possibilities of¬fered by digital networks. The focus was put on new participatory trends, aiming to find out whether the cultural sector engages users in the virtual en¬vironment and whether new working practices have emerged.
The findings provided information on standard ways of operation in the do¬main of cultural portals, and even though they cannot be considered compre¬hensive, they have provided insights into current trends and challenges related to the development of cultural portals and have placed cultural portals in the context of the overall trends of the developments in digital culture. The re¬search results have shown that definitions that described portals 10 years ago do not fit their role today. The portals’ role of gateways to existing information on the Internet is replaced today by search engines that can find content quite efficiently. But the digital landscape still needs tools that enable the us-ers’ engagement with digital culture. No longer simply sign-posting to other web resources, portals today are producing, aggregating and organizing cul-tural content. Today, cultural portals are online publishers and online cultural platforms for the discovery of content, for communication and interaction, still searching for adequate business and communication models. Today, low tech-nical entry barriers enable easy start-ups of virtual services, which mean that anyone with initial enthusiasm and motivation can start some kind of virtual service, website or portal, but running them continuously depends not only on technology, but on a well thought out idea and service offered to a target group, as well as on secured resources. Success depends on securing long-term viability as well as long-term relevance. Their sustainability will require new business models across the cultural sector within which online cultural platforms operate, and, even more importantly, bridging the gap between pol-icy and practice and the need to embed digital culture in cultural policy making.

Ključne riječi

digital culture, cultural portals, international survey

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