This page contains historical information and is preserved here as a matter of record. This project operated at the SSRC from 2003-01-01 to 2004-12-31.
As cultural objects are digitized, stored, mediated by databases and networks, filtered by search engines, and shaped by software and technology design, culture itself becomes available in new ways. The spread of digital technologies is underwriting a rich and growing redeployment of expressive work, from music to literature to film. This redeployment is transforming our capacity to know, experience, and participate in culture, from seemingly simple issues about what we can access and share to more subtle questions about how this new cultural field is represented: e.g., what kinds of cultural activity are made visible and invisible through databases and search engines, and to whom. Despite the importance of this transformation, we are only beginning to ask serious questions about its characteristics, patterns of inclusion and exclusion, and implications for the future.
The Digital Cultural Institutions Project (DCIP) works toward a more comprehensive understanding of the emerging institutional landscape of digital culture and toward a clearer account of the choices we face as participants and stakeholders in that culture. From 2003 to 2004, DCIP supported research on institutions involved in aggregating digital cultural resources and developing models of access. It promoted the integration of knowledge on a range of providers and mediators of digital cultural goods and services -- from digital libraries and online museums to commercial online vendors of music and books, search engines and portals, open and collaborative knowledge archives, and file-sharing networks, among others. 2004 activities included a competitive summer award program, where 30 reviewers selected seven qualified candidates from a pool of 44 candidates. Grantees participated in a fall 2004 workhop at Santa Clara University.