Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage
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Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage

Edited by Ilde Rizzo and Anna Mignosa

Cultural heritage is a complex and elusive concept, constantly evolving through time, and combining cultural, aesthetic, symbolic, spiritual, historical and economic values. The Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage outlines the contribution of economics to the design and analysis of cultural heritage policies and to addressing issues related to the conservation, management and enhancement of heritage.
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Chapter 13: Technologies for cultural heritage

Paolo Paolini, Dana Mitroff Silvers and Nancy Proctor


Technologies play many different roles for cultural heritage – so many that we cannot even list all of them. Like the rest of society, the cultural world is permeated by technology in all its aspects, including diagnostics, conservation and restoration. In this chapter we limit our discussion to a small subset of technologies: Information and Communication Technology or ICT. More specifically, we discuss a specific role of ICT: how it helps reaching ‘audiences’ (or ‘users’, as computer professionals call them) in an effective way. Even within this smaller domain, the wide variety of options and applications makes it impossible to review all of them without ending up with a boring list, of little interest to the reader. We have therefore chosen to present three specific examples of ICT for cultural heritage: websites (by now a ‘traditional’ technology), and mobile applications (based on the use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and ‘trendy’ tablet computers). In the second part, Dana Mitroff, from San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), discusses how the use of the Web has evolved in a large cultural institution. In the third part Nancy Proctor, from the Smithsonian Institution, discusses how mobile applications have evolved and are becoming of greater relevance for museums. In the remainder of this introductory section we would like to discuss in a broader perspective how technologies can be beneficial for the cultural heritage field, to offer the reader a clearer framework in view of the following sections.

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