Digital Cultural Heritage: from Public Sector to User Generated Content

Digital Cultural Heritage
January 2011 - January 2015
No ad hoc resources (exception: less than 5,000 € within the SeLiLi project)
Funding organization: 

Internal funding (Regione Piemonte for the SeLiLi resources)

Person(s) in charge: 

Federico Morando; Deborah De Angelis (WLM-MiBAC agreement)

Executive summary: 

A series of research, consultancy, policy support and awareness raising activities to make digital copies of cultural heritage goods part of the Public Domain.


In December 2010, a group of researcher from the Communia network gathered in Istanbul with the aim of producing a set of recommendations about cultural heritage and the public domain. They discovered that national laws limiting the reuse of reproductions of public domain works (such as ancient statues or paintings) are more widespread than expected (e.g. art. 107 of the Codice dei Beni Culturali in Italy or art. 46 of Law 3028/2002 in Greece).

WikiLovesMonuments is an international photo contest based on cultural heritage monuments: the contest aims at making their pictures available on Wikimedia Commons (and, hence, Wikipedia) and - until now - it did not involve Italy precisely because of its peculiar cultural heritage law.


Last Update: 2013-11-20; Next Expected Update: 2015-03-31

The activities of the Nexa Center in this domain are aimed at defining the actual scope and functioning of “cultural heritage protection laws”, in particular with respect to digital copies of public domain artifacts; moreover, they try to analyze the evidence concerning the pros and cons of these norms (for instance in terms of resources gathered to fund cultural institutions and negative effects on the production of user generated content in this domain); finally, some activities directly aim at supporting projects related to the creation or reuse of digital reproductions of cultural artifacts.


Last Update: 2013-11-20; Next Expected Update: 2015-03-31

The Nexa Center arguably became one of the main competence center about the legislative aspects of digital cultural heritage.

During the 2012/2013 academic year, the following research outputs were delivered:

  • the Nexa Center, through the SeLiLi project, offered its support to Wikimedia Italia, in order to implement the WikiLovesMonuments initiative in Italy: Nexa fellow Deborah De Angelis led the interaction with the Italian Ministry of Culture and drafted and agreement that allowed WLM to take place in Italy, with the endorsement of the Ministry.
  • Nexa fellows Enrico Bertacchini and Federico Morando coauthored a paper about “The Future of Museums in the Digital Age: New Models of Access and Use of Digital Collections” published on the International Journal of Arts Management (15-2);
  • Nexa fellow Marco Ciurcina offered its expertise to Mappa, an innovative project of the University of Pisa concerning the creation of a publicly accessible digital archive of the local archaeological excavations;
  • Angelica Tavella, a visiting researcher at Nexa during the Fall-Winter 2012, started a research about the digital reproductions of Italy's cultural heritage goods and their management in Italy and in the US (also with the aim of comparing the effects of privately owned versus State owned cultural artifacts).
Related Publications:
Enrico Bertacchini, Federico Morando
2 September 2013
International Journal of Arts Management