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Workshop Culture for web, Web for culture
3-4 April 2006. Centre for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, Giza, Egypt
Press Release

Giza, Egypt'Culture for Web, Web for Culture' is the workshop organised on 3-4 April 2006 at CULTNAT, the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage which is affiliated to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and supported by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of Egypt (MCIT) (www.cultnat.org).

The workshop is held within the framework of MEDCULT, an EU/UNESCO Project that aims at improving the quality of cultural websites across the Arab countries through the dissemination of the guidelines and tools developed by the European project MINERVA. MINERVA established a coordination mechanism among countries with the aim of enhancing cooperation, exchange of good practices and interoperability of systems for website development.

Coordination between MINERVA and MEDCULT is carried out through the network of STRABON, one of MEDCULT's partners. STRABON project is coordinated  by the Maison des Sciences de l’homme (MSH) in Paris with the goal of providing the Mediterranean region with multilingual and multimedia information system that comprises consistent units of digital resources regarding the Euro-Mediterranean cultural heritage and ethical tourism.

Representatives from 17 institutions in Egypt concerned with the cultural heritage (museums, libraries, archives, etc) attended the UNESCO-funded-workshop along with MEDCULT's other partners: the Department of Antiquities of Jordan which introduced the Jordanian Archaeological Data and Information System (JADIS), and the Centre of Inventory and  documentation of the Moroccan Ministry of culture which is concerned with digitisation and online publication activity.

The aim of the workshop was to introduce 'Museo & Web', a practical tool that enables small cultural institutions to create their own websites. 'Museo & Web' represents the practical application of all the international criteria, in particular, the MINERVA principles which have also been presented during the workshop.

The first session of the workshop was devoted to an overview of the European context in which the MINERVA project was developed. It, then, presented the tools for acquiring and maintaining quality in cultural websites. General recommendations, accessibility guidelines and 'Museo & Web' were among the topics discussed. Of particular interest, the MINERVA handbook: "Quality Principles for Cultural Websites", which has been translated into Arabic by experts at CULTNAT, was presented. The aim of translating the handbook into Arabic is to ensure the widest diffusion among Arabic speaking countries.

The second session mainly focused on analysis of various websites applying the principles discussed during the first session to determine their quality. It also discussed the creation of a model website using the templates  provided during the training sessions.

The next workshops are to be held in Morocco in May and Jordan in August.

By the end of MEDCULT project, the whole set of guidelines developed by the MINERVA project regarding quality of cultural websites will be enriched due to the exchange among different partners, using various languages and diverse applications and experiences.