Kim H. Veltman, Alexander Churanov, Vasily Churanov

New Media, New Models of Culture and E-Culture Net

 

The vision behind the Maastricht McLuhan Institute (MMI) is being continued with a view that it will become part of the projected new European University of Culture (Paris), which will focus on philosophy and the Internet. Other branches of the university of culture will focus on art and aesthetics (Berlin); humanities (Bologna) and languages and literature (Madrid). Progress on the databases has been possible thanks to the very generous and excellent programming on a volunteer basis by Alexander Churanov (Smolensk), with help from his brother, Vasyay Churanov and a small team of helpers.††

 

The previous work on E-Culture Net is now back on-line (www.eculturenet.org) and will be maintained thanks to the generous volunteer efforts of Alexander Bielowski (Innsbruck). The main site is now hosted by the SUMS (System for Universal Media Searching) Corporation (www.sumscorp.com), which is presently a not for profit organization. This site contains the authorís writings (4,000 pp.), a demonstration on perspective and on Leonardo da Vinci discussed last year, sections on new media, new models of culture plus a link to E-Culture Net.

 

This work is proceeding on three fronts: E-Culture Net laid the basis for a network of institutions and individuals at the frontiers of new practical applications with respect to digital culture. The New Media section explores technological developments, which are of potential interest for this domain. The New Models of Culture section explores new philosophical approaches and methods that are needed to go beyond purely Euro-centric or Asian-centric models and arrive at a comparative framework for the world that fosters local, regional and national dimensions, which are of fundamental importance to culture around the world.

The basic approach is to go beyond simple databases in terms of authors (Who?) and titles (What?) to include the questions: Where? When? How/ and Why? These databases are in each case initially linked with one basic study that provides an orientation in the field. In future this approach can be applied to multiple studies and reference works. Such studies in turn provide a number of personal terms which lead to corresponding titles for further reading. These terms are also being coupled with library catalogues such that the internal database of personal terms becomes a bridge to professional terminology in external dictionaries, encyclopaedias,† bibliographies, catalogues and other reference materials. The internal databases thus serve as an orientation to reference materials and collections in major national libraries and networks of libraries (e.g. Deutscher Bibliotheks Verbund). ††

The main work of the past year has been on a new media site. In this case, the study is a book,

Augmented Knowledge and Culture (700pp.), which will appear in printed form (University of Calgary Press) at the end of 2005. Implicit in this work is an approach that explores how new media can complement the uses of traditional books in print media. By linking knowledge and information in a printed book with both internal and external databases, the digital version can become more than a living document. Potentially it becomes a dynamic knowledge base which users can develop independently and which can, in some senses, even grow on its own. A team led by Alexander and Vasily Churanov is also working on a subset for a CD ROM version† which will offer four different versions: 1. Printed; 2. Hyper-linked; 3. Hyper-illustrated; and 4. Omni-linked which is due for completion next year and will be the subject of a presentation at EVA 2006. This yearís lecture will also mention some developments on the European scene.