Linking Local Cultural Heritage Collections from the Slovenian - Italian Border Region With ICT

Špela Ledinek Lozej, Miha Peče, Barbara Ivančič Kutin

This article discusses the creation of an inventory of thirty-four local cultural heritage collections in the border region between the Alps and the Karst, and the establishment of a network of owners and guardians of the collections, as well as professionals from the fields of museology, ethnology, digital humanities, and informatics. In the project “ZBORZBIRK - Cultural Heritage between the Alps and the Karst”, thirty-four collections of cultural heritage, diverse in type and content, that had been inaccessible to the general public and experts, were catalogued, contextualised and presented to the general and expert public in different media, e.g. also virtually on the project website. A unified repository was established, aggregating metadata of material objects (items) from the collections, as well as digital photographs and scans of images and textual objects (digital objects). In total, there are 4965 items and 8620 digital objects1 in the repository, which is intended for researchers, experts and students from the fields of ethnology, cultural anthropology, history and linguistics as well as for the general public. The repository is generating greater visibility of the region and strengthening the cohesion of local communities. The scope of the research and results was restricted by the material objects from the collections as well as by different aspirations of collectors and specialised skills of all the people involved in archival processes. As the project addressed a wide scope of target groups, its implementation provoked opposing effects between the approaches of the virtual museum and the research archival repository. To clarify the priorities, more attention was given to archival and research norms rather than representational technologies. The ZBORZBIRK Project is one of the first projects in the Italian-Slovenian cross-border region to link non-institutional collections and their collectors with experts. A collaborative approach, the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) to enhance process phases, and a growing phenomenon of local collections and collecting make this project an example of good practice for comparable follow-up projects.