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Research Details

  • Funding Organization : European Commission
  • Funding Programme : IST: Information Society Technologies
  • Duration : 24 months
  • Total Budget : 5,038,110 EUR
  • ITI Budget : 171,924 EUR
  • Scientific Responsible : Dr. Dimitrios Tzovaras


Internet trading communities and marketplaces with aggregated and customized catalogs, intermediary services such as auctions and reverse auctions, and information brokerage and syndication networks are all examples of Internet business models that combine or interconnect offerings or services from multiple businesses. The explosive and massively uncoordinated innovation in Internet technology and business models makes it an exciting time.

This statement from one of the world’s leading organization working towards an interoperable framework in the world of e-commerce applies also to the field of Cultural Heritage. A wide range of EU-funded projects has delivered exciting results in the field of digitisation of ‘cultural goods’ as well as in the development of interoperable systems providing access to distributed and heterogeneous public catalogues residing in museums, libraries, archives, and galleries or similar organisations. But the concept of a ‘European Digital Library’ cannot be only based on a technical framework enabling access to digital goods – there is also a need to introduce new ways of cooperation between different stakeholders (‘Cultural Organisations’, Industries, Administrations, etc) as well as to ‘reengineer’ traditional business processes in the light of globalisation and world wide markets. The main activities within a “support environment for i(nternet) markets” comprise: Content EngineeringPlatform Engineering, and Enterprise Engineering.

The REGNET-Project targets to all three areas: Content Engineering (content management and integration) is a cooperative task of experts in the different domains (libraries, museums, archives, etc) and information specialists from the IT and media industry, Platform Engineering (network management, operations & service management) is based on available standards and methods and executed by integrators and IT-specialists, and Enterprise Engineering (Business Process Engineering, Organisational Changes) is a collaborative work of all addressed stakeholders in the project.

The objectives of REGNET are:

  • Development of a service infrastructure which enables business to business (B2B) transactions as well as business to consumer (B2C) transactions,
  • Development and use of existing – locally held – electronic catalogues (OPACS: Online Public Access Catalogues) referring to cultural & scientific objects contained in libraries, museums, archives, and galleries, as well as to goods and services.
  • Integration of a distributed search and retrieval system to achieve a ‘virtual union’ catalogue of all OPACS and product/service catalogues held locally ,
  • Definition of Information Products and Services including necessary ‘supply chains’ and the connected business processes and functions to deliver digital and physical goods,
  • Development of a legal framework necessary for all business transaction on the B2B and B2C level (containing payment features, copyright systems, authentication control, etc),
  • Integration and test of existing components, standards, and methods in the field of distributed search and retrieval and e-commerce,
  • Access to the REGNET-WEB services via wireless application protocol (WAP) using mobile phones,Run a trial service (demonstration phase) which should be followed by a regular service.


The technical objectives of REGNET are :

  • Development of the ‘REGNET building blocks’ which are necessary to build up an appropriate infrastructure to access to catalogues (containing cultural & scientific data, product & service descriptions, etc) in the Cultural Heritage domain.
  • Access to the ‘REGNET System’ via wired communication lines as well as via the wireless application protocol (WAP).The building blocks of the REGNET system consist of:


  • REGNET – Portal (access to remote data entry, distributed search, e-business)
  • REGNET – Cultural Heritage Data Management (search over distributed meta data repositories connected to stores containing digital content)
  • REGNET – eBusiness Data Management (e-commerce system allowing access to distributed product/service catalogues)
  • REGNET – Ontology (Metadata) Subsystem (containing the specifications of all metadata needed in the Cultural Heritage domain as well as in the e-business domain; this subsystem also stores specifications of workflows and process related metadata)
  • REGNET – Electronic Publishing Subsystem (allowing the production of personalised digital products based on standardised meta data and workflows)Work to be done covers the following areas:


Content Engineering:

Digitization of 2- and 3-dimensional objects using data capturing systems already on the market
Use of Dublin Core Metadata to enable Cross Domain searches within the ‘virtual union’ catalogue (generation via an available Metadata Editor or Harvester)
Use of documentation standards in the different domains (UNIMARC, CIDOC, ISAD(G), …)
Use or modification of existing Document Type Definitions (XML-DTDs) to describe objects and collections (eg. AMICO, or CIMI-based) as well as products
Storage of XML (Extensible Markup Language) structured data in data bases at the content provider’s site
Development of Stylesheets (XSL) for data presentation in online or printed form (eg. dedicated and personalized catalogues)

Platform Engineering:

Implementation of a B2B-commerce system based on XML-data transfer, following existing and emerging standards as specified by the ebXML community.
Implementation of a B2C-commerce system including an ‘internet auction’ system
Integration of a distributed search and retrieval (S&R) component based on Z39.50 standard or similar methodologies based on XML and http protocol, for accessing distributed Cultural Heritage related catalogues as well as product/Service catalogues in the eBusiness environment.
Integration of a customer management system based on relational data base management supoorting customer relationships.
Use of an appropriate integration environment for all the middleware components (B2B, B2C, S&R, RDBMS. Metadata Management, …)
Usage of Open Software Standards and Software available preferable in the public domain (eg. LINUX)
Usage of low cost hardware
Integration of WAP access to the REGNET System

Enterprise Engineering:

Definition of Core Processes for REGNET, comprising at least: 1) access and data entry to distributed catalogues, 2) a shopping cart system, 3) creation of a personalized catalogue based on retrieved data from the ‘virtual catalogue’ (in printed and electronic form), 4) an auction system (eg. duplicates of posters), and 5) a delivery system for physical goods (eg. goods from museum stores)
Use of XML/EDI (eg: Simple-eCo Elements like: Order, Invoice, Despatch, Report, …) for exchange of business data (based on ebXML recommendations)
Definition of the workflow connected with the creation of a electronic publication (eg.: storyboard development, content management, compilation of data, production, delivery) as reference model for electronic publishing
Definition of appropriate ‘business profiles’ evolved from different functions and processes (eg: ‘content manager’) for the involved personnel (following the recommendations to the European Parliaments just being worked out).


Angewandte Informationstechnik GmbH, Graz
Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek
Techno-Z Forschung & Entwicklung GmbH, Salzburg
Information & Management Consulting, Berlin
Stockholm University Library
Lansmuseet pa Gotland
Naturhistorika Riksmuseet
Royal Swedish Academy of Science
TARX nv, Hofstade
Regional Museum, Mechlin
Museon, Den Haag
Royal Cornwall Museum
SPACE S.r.l.
Fratelli Alinari SpA, Florence
Consorzio Civita, Rome
Sistemas Expertos SA, Madrid
Instituto Andaluz de Tecnologia, Sevilla
ZEUS Consulting S.A., Patras
Systema Informatics SA, Athens
Informatics and Telematics Institute,Thessaloniki
Institute of Computer and Communication Systems, Sofia
Southern Ural State University / Regional Centre of FREEnet, Chelyabinsk
ValTech, Toulouse
Terra Incognita Ltd., London