Challenges for libraries as humanities resources:
IT and the convergence of archives, libraries and museums

Bendik Rugaas
Nasjonalbibliotekaren
Postboks 2674 Solli, 0203 OSLO, Norway
nb@nbr.no
http://www.nbr.no/


Information technology and the Internet have opened for new developments in collecting, storing and disseminating knowledge and information. For the ALM sector (archives, libraries, museums) this means new opportunities in giving education, research and the public in general, access to an increasing number of collections - national and international - in digital form.

This has been underlined by efforts from international bodies like UNESCO, IFLA, ICA, ICOM and also by the European Union. The Commission's "Report on the situation of libraries, museums and archives in the EU member states and EFTA countries" (http://www2.echo.lu/libraries/en/nfp/introd.html), gives an overview of the status present, and this is now being followed up by conferences and projects focusing on the common denominators of these fields, and how access can be made easier in a virtual world.

One practical result of the ALM convergence is the development of Culture Net Norway, which is operated by the National Library of Norway, and provides access to digital collections all over Norway, with links also to the global networks and similar developments in other countries. And it underlines the modern paradoxes:

With the global growth of the Internet, which implications should this have on the content provided, and how should bridges be built between the fields of language/culture and economy/commerce? The world wide situation for public vs. Private funding of ALM institutions in a digital age?

Examples of gateways to the Digital Heritage, and focus on the necessity for the humanities to make use of the language of a new millennium. Which means: Finding the future while it is still here.