Good practice form for nominations

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We propose to start the activity of the workgroup on 'good practice' proposing an initial set of some main areas where to put the nominations. In particular we think to start with the basic issue of digitisation itself.

Each project can be 'nominated' for more than one area, following your evaluation of the most important features contained in the example.
AREAS for nominations of 'good practice' for on-going projects on digitisation:

  1. Preservation of physical objects via digitisation and electronic surrogates.

  2. High quality of the digitisation process.

  3. Metadata and Thesaurus.

  4. Usability of project results.

  5. Management of the process and workflow

  6. Accessibility including copyright issues and web sites

For each project please specify:

  • Area of 'good practice' where you like to nominate your project (you can put more than only one area): 1, 2, 6

  • Name: ODYSSEUS

  • Responsible body and/or any specific:

High Performance Information Systems Laboratory - HPCLAB
Co-ordinating body/mechanism:

Hellenic Ministry of Culture

  • Contact person: Theodore S. Papatheodorou

  • Web site:

"ODYSSEUS" is one of the largest and most highly acclaimed cultural web sites worldwide. As the primary WWW site of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture (HMC), "ODYSSEUS" provides bilingual information on almost every aspect of Greek culture through 16,000 web pages with rich multimedia content (approximately 22.000 digital images). Sections on Greek cultural heritage and contemporary cultural creation are available, including hundreds of archaeological sites, museums and monuments, cultural organizations, exhibitions and special issues.

Numerous international awards from established organizations have been received, as well as broad public acceptance. The number of "ODYSSEUS" visitors exceeds a monthly average of 150,000 guests, 85% of whom live abroad. "ODYSSEUS" has been used in education by schools from various countries, including Greece, the US and Germany.

On-line since 1995, "ODYSSEUS" has been established as the most effective ambassador of Greek Culture on the Internet. "ODYSSEUS" is constantly expanding in content as well as in services, including:

    • An interactive cultural map of Greece. Through the “Cultural Map” the visitor has the opportunity to visit more than 1,000 archaeological sites, monuments and museums all over Greece. For each museum, site and monument there is a short description, a brief history and exhibits, with accompanying digital images.

    • Multilingual full text search system.

    • On-line access to database-supported volatile information, such as cultural activities, press releases, etc.

    • Remote content administration and authoring.

    • A thematic catalogue on cultural sites from all over the world. This web-based application provides access to the most extensive catalogue of Cultural Sites available on the Internet and the World Wide Web. This catalogue is continuously updated with Cultural material and includes sites from over 30 countries all over the continents, covering the whole spectrum of Arts and Letters, as well as providing valuable scientific resources.

    • Detailed coverage and special reviews of cultural events.

“ODYSSEUS” also includes special issues of general interest, such as the Parthenon Marbles or the Olympic Games, information on major cultural events and the presentation of unique exhibitions that were organised by the Ministry and can now be visited only on-line.

The digitisation of cultural content is being achieved through a digitisation lab located at the premises of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. The digitized objects are mainly photographs (digital images) acquired from the photographic archive of the HMC.
A Workgroup has been established which is responsible for the selection, collection and dissemination of the content to be published to “ODYSSEUS”. The content selection is based on specific criteria and priorities. In addition, the Workgroup is responsible for the definition of a thesaurus for the dissemination of the content. The Workgroup consists of members of the HMC and the HPCLAB.
The new “ODYSSEUS”

The new version of “ODYSSEUS” is based on well-structured information (database, XML, Metadata). A new version of the Hellenic Cultural Map is under development. The visitor will be able to navigate through Greece, via a user-friendly interface, and to retrieve all the information. It will also contain applications such as discussion lists, mailing lists, announcements etc.

  • The main technical features for what you consider the project a 'good practice' example:

The main technical features are focusing on the digitization and appropriate presentation of the Hellenic Cultural Heritage (visualization and accessibility).

  1. Efficiency, Security and availability of the Web Site.

  2. Mass digitization activity of cultural content (mainly digital images).

  3. Distributed management of cultural content through specialized user-friendly applications. The applications include custom made, content management tools.

  4. Use of international metadata for the dissemination of cultural content.

  5. Use of a thesaurus for the dissemination and the cataloguing of the cultural content.

  6. The thesaurus and international metadata are integrated to the content management tools.

  7. Bilingual information (Greek and English).

  8. Advanced Internet based applications for the appropriate presentation of sensitive cultural topics. These include:

    1. Java based, internet-oriented cultural map.

    2. Internet access to the events database.

    3. Powerful bilingual search engine.

New innovative services soon to be completed:

  1. WAP access to the announced database of the HMC. A pilot system is already implemented and is at a test phase.

  2. Advanced version of the Cultural Map with emphasis on GIS data and Flash technology.

  3. Watermarking and distributed copyright management is already tested and a pilot implementation is completed.

  • Long term sustainability strategy:

The project is funded and developed mainly in the basis of long-term agreements with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. The agreements include detailed schedules, financial elements, measurable and achievable objectives and deliverables. In the framework of these long-term agreements the Internet Office has been established and operates at the premises of the HMC. This office is supervised by the HPCLAB and is responsible for the maintenance and further development of “ODYSSEUS”. In addition, a workgroup within the HMC is established for the continuous content selection, digitisation and dissemination, especially for the “ODYSSEUS” web site.

  • Accessibility by users via local network or Internet (describe modalities and IPR issue from a technical point of view):

“ODYSSEUS” is one of the most popular cultural web sites in Greece.

The distinct hosts exceed approximately 5000 per day (85% percent of those from other countries). The number of electronic messages that the administration of the web site is receiving every day through the site, from Greece and abroad, from official organizations, educational institutes and individuals are about 200.

  • Problems encountered:

The most important problems encountered are the following:

  1. The volume of produced multimedia data and it’s associated metadata.

  2. The coordination and efficient cooperation of the network of people responsible for the production, collection and publishing of the multimedia content.


Figures and documents enclosed:

I agree this information could be published.

Organisation & person completing the questionnaire

  • Formal name of organisation: High Performance Information Systems Laboratory - HPCLAB

  • Type of organisation: University, Research Laboratory

  • Field of action: Museums / Archives / Libraries / Science / Arts / Archaeology

  • Address: University of Patras, Building B, 26500, Rion, Patras

  • Name of director: Theodore S. Papatheodorou

  • Name and role of person completing the questionnaire: Dimitris K. Tsolis and Athanitis Andreas, Senior Researchers – Engineers at the HPCLAB

  • Tel: +30 610 993805

  • Fax: +30 610 997706

  • Web site:

  • E-mail:

Date: 2002-05-13

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