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HGIS Culture Subsidy for digitising Papua's legacy

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education, Culture and Science have awarded two hundred thousand euros to the Papua Cultural Legacy Foundation (PACE). The foundation will use this subsidy to make historical material and ethnographic art from the former Papua New Guinea accessible in digital format. For the Dutch public, but especially for students and pupils in the current Indonesian province of Papua.

Sjoerd Jaarsma of PACE explains that little material of historical value has been preserved in Papua. 'Documents, utensils and art in museums are no more than 25 years old. But there is a great deal of material in the Netherlands. Many Dutch people worked in Papua New Guinea in the fifties and sixties, and have photos, films and utensils that they collected during that period. Institutions in the Netherlands also have reports and other interesting documents. We are attempting to inventory these items, to describe them and make them digitally accessible.'

A web site will be created, initially in Dutch, to be followed quickly by pages in Bahasa Indonesian and in English. Moreover, the foundation will publish CD-roms to be used in combination with the web site. The Internet is in wide use in Papua, but it is frequently not very fast. Publishing video material on CD-roms will make it easier for people to use these sources. The foundation hopes to have a number of pages online at www.papuaergfoed.org by next month. At the beginning of next year there will be a more complete site, to be followed by the translations.

The Ministries of State of the two Ministries are collectively responsible for the spending of the HGIS Cultural Resources. The Dutch government makes these funds available to enable the international culture policy to be implemented. The HGIS culture budget for 2003 is 11 million euros.

Jacinta de Moor

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