Humanities and Arts on the Information Highways: A National Initiative has been formed to address the urgent need for the humanities and arts to gain a voice in the planning and development of the National Information Infrastructure, the much-publicized plan for a national telecommunications system.
The initial sponsors of the National Initiative — the Getty Art History Information Program (AHIP), the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) — are joining with other stakeholders to confront the issues and responsibilities connected with bringing the nation’s cultural heritage into the digital environment.
The report makes a case for the importance of providing all people with electronic access to the nation’s cultural heritage, and relates the special challenges and opportunities associated with digitizing humanities and arts information to the administration’s Agenda for Action for the National Information Infrastructure. The report also summarizes the findings of the National Initiative’s two working groups on Technical Requirements and Electronic Resources.
Community response to the report was elicited at a special meeting of strategic organizations in the cultural heritage community on July 14, 1994, in Washington, D.C. Appendices C-E to the report reflect the immense institutional and individual expertise brought to bear on these issues.
The final report is scheduled for publication in conjunction with the release of Putting the Information Infrastructure to Work, Vol. 2, prepared by the Clinton administration’s Information Infrastructure Task Force, Committee on Applications and Technology. This Profile is intended to complement and inform the administration’s chapter on arts and humanities. It is our hope that the arts and humanities community will use the Profile report as a guide for responding to the administration’s call for comment on its applications paper.
Having sketched the shape of the problem and the steps which must be taken, the National Initiative will proceed to an expanded campaign of advocacy and action.