Lithuania, Vilnius

UNESCO Chair in Informatics for the Humanities


Description and Mandate of the Chair

The activities was concentrated, during the year 2002 – 2004, into two fields:

1. Informatics for the Humanities (traditional activity), and
2. Community Informatics (new trend from the end of 2002).

The main goal in field Informatics for the Humanities is transferring of modern information technologies for:

  • preservation and restoration of culture heritage on the long live digital media;
  • dissemination of information on cultural heritage on CD‘s and Internet.

The main goal in field Community Informatics is support of rural communities to use information and communication technologies (ICT) for social, economical and cultural development.

The special attention for year’s 2005- 2007 will be in the field of Community Informatics. The main activity in this field prospective:
– creation motivation to use ICT;
– support skills necessary to formulate the community strategic aims, and ICT application to the aims fulfillment;
– influence the communities essential reorganizations in order to adjust to the knowledge based future;
– creation of the ICT usage friendly environment;
– formation of the ICT usage culture.

Investigation, development and adaptation of new information technologies to specific needs of the humanities and rural communities.
Education and training of people in the humanities and rural area communities to use advanced information technologies.

Delivering of education and training courses on topics of advanced information technologies to people in the humanities and rural communities.
Providing users with information technology based resources.
Developing multimedia – based projects, consultations.

CHIMER – Children’s Heritage Interactive Models for Evolving Repositories, IST-2001-32695 project of 5FP online and IMI is the Authorized Project Leader in Lithuania (duration 2002 – 2005).

The CHIMER project is researching tools and methods liable to encourage 9-12 aged schoolchildren across Europe to participate in building a living view of the cultural heritage of their villages, towns and regions. Cultural heritage of five European countries: Spain, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands filled in E-maps related to the evolving digital heritage archives enhance the children skills and progress of advanced technologies in everyday life as well as cultural tourism. E-guides and M-guides are created as tools empowering access to digital cultural heritage accumulated in digital repositories. The Didactical Unit Book issued as one of the remarkable results in this project sharing the experience accumulated with other teachers, experts in cultural heritage.

ARUODAI online – The electronic compendium of sources on Lithuanian culture – an integral database covering sources for all areas of Lithuanian ethnic culture: language, folklore, ethnology, archaeology, and history. This project 2003- 2006 is jointly prepared by the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore, the Institute of the Lithuanian Language, the Lithuanian Institute of History, and the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics. The multimedia DB works are under IMI responsibility.

Such a repository provides the means to preserve and analyze language, folklore, and ethnological, archaeological, and historical data in a modern way. It is hoped that this project will create new opportunities to advance the process of digitalizing sources on ethnic culture. The name of this electronic compendium of sources on Lithuanian culture has a symbolic meaning. The Lithuanian word aruodas means a bin for storing threshed grain. The storage bins of Lithuanian culture will be used to gather, systematize, and interpret data on Lithuanian ethnic culture. The following results are expected:

• This electronic compendium will make it possible to form direct links between different pieces of data from various areas of Lithuanian linguistics in order to conduct comprehensive scientific research.

• Establishing this information system will create the necessary conditions for the efficient integration of work by scholars specializing in all branches of Lithuanian linguistics.

• Converting archival material into digital data formats will ensure their protection against physical loss or damage.

• Other national institutions will be granted access to this information system, which will be created and established within four years.

• This electronic compendium of sources on Lithuanian culture will serve educational, creative, and other purposes important to the Lithuanian world community and will help its members maintain their national identity under conditions of globalization.

• The classified index will contain keywords in English; therefore, data stored in the repository will be available both to Lithuanian specialists and to specialists in other countries.

The prototype of this ambitious project is under construction now and its treasures will be open to users up to end of 2005.
ECH: TOPICC – ENDANGERED CULTURAL HERITAGE: TOOLS FOR PRESERVATION, INVESTIGATION AND COPYRIGHTS CLEARANCE, Eureka programme, project E! 2597 (duration 2003 – 2005) online The development of software for Internet integrated multimedia database and multimedia rights trading environment for one-step marketing and management of multimedia products and rights capable of operating on European basis. The coordinator of this project is IMI

The access to old music manuscripts has to be rather restricted: original materials being fragile and perishable are hardly assessable for research and almost inaccessible for general public. Nevertheless it is a rich and unique source for scholars studying the development of manuscripts, illuminations and musical notations, musicologists and hobbyists interested in early music transposition and performance, as well as general public whose interest in early music and spirit of times mentioned is growing continuously.

The problems of digital acquisition, archiving, delivery of early music manuscripts as multimedia objects (including professional descriptions of items, their images, audio records of corresponding music) to a general audience and ways of access to it to scholars for research purposes, the intellectual rights management will be discussed and the prototype of created.

Project aims:
(i) To develop new generation of tools – software for filling and searching Internet-integrated multimedia data base (MDB) and copyrights trading environment in one-step marketing and management of multimedia products and rights capable of operating on European basis.

(ii) To create an Multimedia Rights Clearance value chain that links object creation, marketing, customer and access management, distribution and use.

(iii) To create an MDB prototype using as entries multimedia musical heritage items, based on early European musical heritage data (the images of musical manuscripts, audio-video music records, related pictures, texts).

The MDB prototype, accessible, demonstrates MDB operability on digital acquisition and archiving, transfer and presentation of unique multimedia items as well as proves the benefits of interactive delivery.

Readers and publishers may obtain the digital copies on CD of selected items according to a special agreement with the Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. For this novel service, called CD-ROM-on-demand, a special software has been developed. A demo version made for the 17th c. manuscript – notation album and copper engravings Cancione [Sapieha’s Tablature] is already created. This CD contains 50 images of best quality, several pieces from this manuscript, performed by the organist, can be listened too while investigating musical sheets.CREATIVE WORK AND TRADITIONS. GEOMETRIC PATTERNS OF LITHUANIAN TEXTILES Vilnius 2002, CD-ROM [ISBN 9986-780-40-3]; online

Historical and regional perspective of Lithuanian textile patterns and a framework for interpretation and analysis of the designs are provided on this CD. Authors seek to show the meanings of textiles in traditional culture. Peculiarities and symbolism of Lithuanian homemade textile patterns are represented as well as a great variety of colorful handmade weavings, tools used and people creating those Lithuanian traditional textiles. Lithuanian and English versions.

Lithuania from the days of the Grand Duchy onward has been fortunate to have become common home of Lithuanians as well as of Belorussians, Jews, Karaims, Poles, Tatars, Russians. History, language, religion, outstanding persons, and many facts in Tatar, Jewish, Karaimic and Russian culture in Lithuania are overviewed on this CD. Lithuanian, English, Russian versions

Lithuania from the days of the Grand Duchy onward has been fortunate to have become common home of Lithuanians as well as of Byelorussians, Jews, Karaims, Poles, Tatars, Russians. History, language, religion, outstanding persons, and many facts in Tatar, Jewish, Karaimic and Russian culture in Lithuania are overviewed on this CD. Lithuanian, English, Russian versions.

THE WORKERS OF THE LITHUANIAN BOOK. A Biographic Dictionary [ISBN 9986-680-27-1]. Published CD-ROM, 2004.
The Workers of the Lithuanian Book is the first digital publication in book science and is devoted to biography studies. From the typological point of view this is a biographic dictionary. It includes information on professionals of old and modern literacy, publishing, typography, book trade, librarianship, book science, library and bibliography researchers, interdisciplinary specialists and scientists who have made an impact on cultural development (creators of scripts, book and book-plate artists, restorers of documents and publications), bibliophiles, collectors and other cultural workers. It describes only persons from Lithuania, emigrants from Lithuania who worked in the book related fields, persons from other countries who had a close relationship to Lithuania, mostly from Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Russia, and Germany. Content was created at the Vilnius University, Communication Faculty, programming – IMI, UNESCO Chair.Courseware for Training of Trainers and Users on the Special Applications of Internet Based Services in the fields of Cultural Education. This project was supported by UNESCO, the partners from Poland, Hungary, Greece have made a valuable contribution to its content.

The staff of the Chair is active in research and their results are presented in international forums. For example:

The problems of rural communities informatics was presented in:
World Forum of UNESCO Chairs, 13-15 November, 2002, UNESCO HQ, Paris.
Ke³stutis JUS¹KEVIC¹IUS, Dr., UNESCO Chair in Informatics for the Humanities,
Aru¯nas POVILIU¯NAS, Doc. Dr., Vilnius University,
Laimutis TELKSNYS, Prof. Dr. Habil., UNESCO Chair in Informatics for the Humanities.
ICT Itegration Instruments for the Local Communities in Rural Area.
Knowledge Economy Forum. Implementing Knowledge Economy Strategies, 25-28 March, 2003, Helsinki, Finland.
Ke³stutis JUS¹KEVIC¹IUS, Dr., Open Society Fund – Lithuania
Aru¯nas POVILIU¯NAS, Assoc.Prof. Dr., Vilnius University
Laimutis TELKSNYS, Prof. Dr. Habil., UNESCO Chair in Informatics for the Humanities
Knowledge Economy and ICT Possibilities in Rural Areas of Lithuania

Understanding of importance of more intensive and coordinated development of knowledge economy in accession countries increased significantly during last years. The development strategies of many countries have been adjusted to correspond to this new understanding, and concrete steps have already been taken. However, the main changes are associated with activities in urban areas. The discourse about knowledge economy in rural areas in accession countries is still at its initial phase and this issue needs much more attention.

In this short overview the possibilities of development of knowledge economy on the basis of usage of ICT in rural areas of Lithuania shall be introduced:

– the general situation in Lithuania and activities which are already under way;
– the project Steps Towards Digital Community which is under way and which has been created with the help of partnership between academic institutions and Open Society Fund – Lithuania.

The main focus is laid on the problem of integration of possibilities of ICT into economical activities of communities in rural areas.

The problems in rural areas
Residents of rural areas in Lithuania form 31.9% of the total population, the larger part of which lives in poor conditions. Most of people from rural areas are involved in agricultural works, they constitute 17.7 % of all work force of Lithuania. Productivity of agricultural sector is low, the input to GDP is only 7 %. If compared to the productivity of industry, it is 3 times lower. So, rural areas face two tasks:

1. Increase in the productivity of agricultural sector by means of modernization of agriculture technology.
2. Creating alternative economical activities for workers, who will appear outside the agriculture after modernization.

It is assumed, that after the modernization of the agriculture sector, there will remain only 5-7% of agriculture workers. So, the problem of creating of alternative activities is a vital one.

ICT in rural areas
According to Michael Gurstain [1], ICT could be used to support local economic development for the following purposes:

– to enable local residents to perform some work, which they have always been doing, better, faster, cheaper or more efficiently – thus maintaining their competitive position in larger economic context;

– to provide resources for new businesses, new styles of development and initiatives, and create innovative activities at the local level as a base for local economic advance; and

– to join into larger networks where the local economic activity might not be competitive when taken separately, in a fragmented way.

All the mentioned above is also applicable to rural areas and can be used to solve the already mentioned tasks of increasing of productivity in agricultural sector, and creating alternative economical activities in rural areas of Lithuania. Moreover, ICT possibilities also could be successfully integrated into social, educational, cultural, civil activities of rural communities.

Despite the evident advantages of usage of ICT, there are many (and primarily economical) obstacles, that have not allowed to use ICT widely in rural areas of Lithuania for a long time. Technical infrastructure for usage of ICT in rural areas was undeveloped, and human capabilities were very low. In 2002 the percentage of households owning a computer in rural areas was 4 times lower if compared to urban areas [2]. Now the situation is changing and the most important signs of the change are as follows:

– the attitude of central and local governments to development of knowledge economy and ICT in rural areas is slightly changing and getting greater recognition. Evidence of the recognition could be found in national strategic development documents, such as the Long-Term Economic Development Strategy, Single Programming Document (draft), Regional Development Strategy;

– concrete steps by central and local government in cooperation with private sector (project Windows to the Future) have already been taken to increase capacity of rural communities to use ICT. Ministry of Interior will finance the establishment of 300 public Internet access points (PIAP’s) in three years for 1,5 mln EUR. Part of PIAP’s will be established in rural areas. Additional 300 PIAP’s will be established from PHARE funds for more than 3 mln EUR, and all PIAP’s will be established in rural areas. Ministry of Education together with private sector is planning to start large scale computer literacy trainings during 2003;

– communities in rural areas become much more aware about possibilities of ICT and started to include these possibilities in the projects for funding from various sources.

Problems of usage of ICT for knowledge economy in rural areas

The necessary steps which must be taken by rural community to start using ICT for economical activities are:
1. Acquiring the technical tools, development of necessary technical infrastructure.
2. Acquiring computer literacy to use ICT.
3. Integration of ICT possibilities into economic activities.

The activities exercised by the government and private sector in Lithuania are oriented mainly to steps 1 and 2. These steps support communities in rural areas in order to obtain (or to “have”) the necessary instruments and competence for getting useful information via Internet, usage of the services, sending information to others, communicating. However, to “have” automatically does not mean to “use”. To “have” it is a necessary but insufficient condition for economic, and not only economic development. To make use of ICT as an enabler of a wider socio-economic development process, it is necessary to have the development based, demand oriented and application focused information usage strategy, and act further on accordingly [3]. Only after the information transforms into knowledge and is applied to economic activities, one can talk about knowledge economy. This information usage strategy should be the part of a wider strategy of rural development, and adhere to the principles of integrated rural development.

In the present situation the key issue to be addressed is the failure of the rural communities to seize ICT opportunities and integration of these opportunities into everyday activities of communities. There is an increase in computer literacy level, however it is only a partial solution to this problem. The scope of the problem is much wider and calling for tailor-made measures which would increase information literacy, stimulate strengthening local entrepreneurial and managerial capabilities, increase awareness and motivation of usage ICT, form the ICT usage culture, encourage the rural communities essential reorganizations in order to adjust to the knowledge based future.

These measures could be successful if only favorable environment exists in the country for knowledge economy and ICT usage in rural areas [4]. The main elements of such environment are strong core ICT network infrastructure, appropriate policy and existence of content and applications suitable for rural communities. Unfortunately, the ICT infrastructure in rural areas of Lithuania (which is currently under development) cannot be expected to end with a broadband network, which is essential for providing the indispensable services for rural areas such as e-learning, e-government, e-health [5].

Project Steps Towards Digital Community
In order to help to solve the problem of integration of ICT into activities of rural communities the special project Steps Towards Digital Community has been launched. The goal of the project is to create models demonstrating ICT possibilities for the rural communities, indicating ways of encouraging and facilitating the rural communities to use ICT, unclosing existing problems of integration ICT into rural community activities.

The project is initiated by Open Society Fund – Lithuania and implemented in partnership with UNESCO Chair in Informatics for the Humanities at the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics, and Vilnius University Centre of Social Study. As project is initiated by Open Society Fund – Lithuania, it encompasses not only problems of economic development of rural communities, but also problems of integrating of ICT possibilities into social, educational, cultural and civic activities.

The project activities concentrate on two areas:
– reinforcing rural communities capacities to seize the possibilities of ICT ;
– fostering the development of local, national and international rural communities networks.

The following results are expected after the of project implementation:
– the developed methods and materials for facilitation of rural communities on the integration of ICT into community activities;
– the developed and introduced into usage internet portal for rural communities activities stimulation;
– the established teams of facilitators for stimulating, facilitating and training of rural communities in the ways of ICT application;
– the implemented 30 pilot projects in various rural areas, demonstrating application and benefits of methods and training materials, developed for facilitation of rural communities on usage of ICT.

Facilitation methods are constructed on the basis of general principles in ICT adoption and diffusion [6]. For the purposes of stimulating of ICT adoption by the rural community the project on ICT integration into community activities is initiated. Planning of project activities and implementation of project is performed by the project team, consisting of local community members. During planning and implementation period the team members gain knowledge which is necessary to become agents of ICT diffusion into all the community. This also helps to receive synergy effect by means of integration knowledge about community’s problems and knowledge about ICT possibilities.

The first draft of materials for facilitation of communities on the integration of ICT into rural community activities has been developed and is under test in 3 pilot rural communities. The first results showed that rural communities provided with support and facilitation could successfully integrate ICT into their activities and even become active participants of knowledge economy.

The rural community portal started its activities and could be found at the Internet address

– despite the fact that great progress in the attitude of government towards importance of development of knowledge economy has been made, the main attention is focused onto urban areas. Rural areas still lack adequate attention. The main activities, which are fostered by private sector, are oriented towards the development of technical infrastructure and basic computer literacy;

– the technical infrastructure, which is under development, already does not meet the requirements of the EU to provide important new options in terms of the quality of services delivered;

– narrowing the problem of development of human capacities in usage of ICT in rural areas to the problem of the lack of computer literacy (or equalizing the two) does not allow to solve the main task – to integrate successfully ICT possibilities into everyday activities of rural communities and to develop the rural communities into the real participants of knowledge economy;

– integration of ICT possibilities into activities of rural communities is a complex and complicated task, the solution of which should be based on partnership of many stakeholders – communities, government (including local), private sector, non-governmental organizations (civic society), academic institutions, international organizations. The means for the integration of ICT into activities of rural areas still need investigation and development;

– the rural communities, having received adequate support and facilitation, are able successfully integrate ICT into their activities and even become active participants of knowledge economy.

1. Flexible Networking, Information and Communications Technology and Local Economic Development by Michael Gurstein,
ƒ ¡ ® s † – m ? ñ d @ ¥ , Peer-Reviewed Journal on the Internet,

2. Lietuvos ITT rinka 2002 metais, Asociacija « Infobalt », (in Lithuanian),

3. Digital Development. A Framework for Applying Information Technology to Community Socioeconomic Development. A „White Paper“ Prepared by Greg Laudeman, Community Technology Specialist, Georgia Tech Economic Development Institute,

4. Creating a Development Dynamic: Final Report of the Digital Opportunity Initiative,

5. Electronic Communications: the Road to the Knowledge Economy. Communication from the Commission to the Council, The European Parliament, The Economical and Social Committee of the Regions, Brussels, 11.2.2003, COM(2003) 65 final

6. Harris Roger, A Framework for Poverty Alleviation with ICTs, Roger Harris Associates, Honk Kong, December 2002,

The problems of Informatics in the Humanities was presented at eCHALLENGES e2004 event, October, 2004, Vienna, Austria.

The study eEurope-plus: Digital Divide or Digital Inclusion ? has been presented by the Assoc. Prof. Dr. N. Kligiene, and full text published in eAdoption and the Knowledge Economy Issues, Applications, Case Studies //Information and Communication Technologies and the Knowledge Economy, v.1, p.2, IOS Press, Amsterdam-Berlin-Oxford-Tokyo-Washington, 2004,1637-1644 p.p. ISSN 1574-1230

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