Workshop on `Museums in cyberspace'
A two-day workshop on 'Museums in cyberspace' was organised on 17-l8th March, 2001 by the Indian National Committee of International Council of Museums (INC-ICOM) in collaboration with the Indian Museum at Kolkata,

Workshop on `Museums in cyberspace'--A report
The globalisation of the economy and of information and data network access accentuated amazingly by the computing revolution that we had experienced during the last decade of the 20th century brings us into the new millennium with a new and multistrategical and extensively ever expanding set of interrelationship between societies and individuals. If, as we believe, museums should play a major role in cultural activities and also in conservation and protection of historical and artistic heritage within their communities, then we can not afford to ignore these tremendous changes in the world of infotech for our mutual benefit.

Addressing a two-day workshop on 'Museums in cyberspace' organised on 17-l8th March, 2001 by the Indian National Committee of International Council of Museums (INC-ICOM) in collaboration with the Indian Museum at Kolkata, Dr. R.V. Vaidyanatha Ayyar, ex-Union Secretary of Culture advised the museum professionals to take proper legal protection relating to contractual agreements of cultural properties while going in for benefits of new information technology. Delivering his inaugural address the Vice Chancellor of the Calcutta University, Prof. Asis Banerjee said that the subject of 'cultural economics' has not received proper attention . Since social benefits exceeds the private benefits in the area of museums, it is difficult to estimate the individual's demand. Dr. Saroj Ghose, ex-President, ICOM, Paris stated that with the utilisation of info-technology, the museums can now recreate the ambience of the age in a visitors friendly way. Presiding over the valedictory session Dr. Shyamalkanti Chakravarti, Chairman, INC-ICOM and Director, Indian Museum and National Library, Kolkata urged the leading museums and institutes of the country to develop e-learning courses on practical aspects of museography and computer literacy training for museum professionals of India. INC-ICOM will soon launch its own web-site, he added.

The all India workshop was attended by two hundred delegates consisting of museologists and cyber experts from Nagaland, Orissa, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi. The following speakers delivered lectures on the subjects as stated below :
Shri Abhijit Dasgupta, Video production in museums-past & present; Dr. Saroj Ghose, Introduction of info-technology in museum; Sri Amiya Baran Saha, Information Techhology Act, 2000; Shri Robin Ghosh, E-learning programme for museology; Dr. Suparno Chaudhury, Museum in broad band era; Dr. Samar Bhattacharya, Low cost multimedia production of cultural unit; Dr. Ashok Banerjee, Developing cyber museums issue's and realities; Ms. Uma Mazumder, Down memory lane - digital recording of documentary heritage; Dr. Abijit Mitra, Leveraging web; Dr. B.M. Mehtra, Electronic copyright management system.

On the basis of the recommendations and ideas generated at the professional workshop on Museums in cyberspace to promote inter-disciplinary dialogue between museum professionals vis a vis IT professional the following was resolved :
· Info-technology in museums be introduced in keeping with the present development in the field.
· Computer training for the museum professionals be taken up in right earnest.
· Every museum should open website on all aspects subject to availability of resources.
· INC-ICOM will try to impart computer literacy among the museum professionals by organising various workshops on :
· (a) Awareness of Info-technology in museums, libraries and archives in the north eastern states.
· (b) Patent and copyright act in connection with protection of cultural and intellectual property rights.
· Preparation of INC-ICOM website and publication of website addresses of the museum's and museum professionals in the INCICOM news letter.
· Distance E-learning training amongst the museum professionals through multi-media.


--P. K. Palit

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