GARR, To Know Us, Communities, Cultural Heritage
A LONG-TERM COLLABORATION
GARR has always supported the world of cultural heritage in the main research and study activities, protection and enhancement of cultural heritage.
Within this community there are:
- state archives;
- fine arts academies;
- central institutes of the Ministry for Cultural and Environmental Heritage (MiBACT);
- cultural institutions of international importance.
And there are many excellences including the Colosseum and the Uffizi Gallery.
WHEN INNOVATION MEETS CULTURE
The offices of these institutions communicate with the vast multidisciplinary community of universities and research and collaborate locally, nationally and internationally, through interconnection with other research and education networks.
The main applications used on the network are the sharing and transmission of large amounts of data between institutions throughout the country that collect, store and process digitized goods such as books, paintings, archaeological finds and artifacts.
The use of web applications also allows individual institutions to promote their activities more effectively on the protection and use of cultural heritage, with particular reference to information and training activities.
The IDEM federated identity service is particularly relevant for the shared management of access to online resources, guaranteeing privacy and security and a deeply felt need by the library community, providing access to services for users of different types and with different affiliations. From videoconferencing to e-learning platforms, from libraries to high-performance computing portals, many resources are unifiedly accessible to members of the federation and its users.
SOME CASES OF SUCCESS
The collaboration between GARR and this vast community responds to the objective of using ICT technologies to serve the conservation, study and enhancement of the extraordinary cultural heritage of our Country. A concrete example is the SITAR territorial system (the georeferenced web "cadastre" that collects the archaeological information related to the metropolitan area of Rome), entirely realized by the Special Superintendency for the Colosseum, the National Roman Museum and the Rome archaeological area in collaboration with GARR. Here, in addition to the organization of the dedicated network infrastructure and the fiber optic connection, GARR provided the IDEM federated identity service and the pre-configured IdP service.
Still in the archaeological field, we recall the fiber optic linking of historical heritage assets such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and of the National Roman Museum (Crypta Balbi, Palazzo Altemps, Palazzo Massimo, Diocletian Baths) and, recently, the Superintendency of Pompei.
Another example of the collaboration between GARR and the community dates back to the 80s: the National Library System (SBN), the Italian library network promoted by MiBACT with the cooperation of the regions and universities, and coordinated by the Central Institute for single catalog of Italian libraries and for bibliographic information (ICCU).
The possibility of collaborating with a multidisciplinary community can create favorable synergies, such as adopting innovative and advantageous solutions for the deposit of digital resources. In addition, institutions connected to the research networks will be brought to publish data with the same standards, making digital resources interoperable and facilitating user navigation.
INTERNATIONAL MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH
The primary objective of GARR is to provide industry specialists with a highly capable, reliable and flexible network infrastructure and services, thanks to which it can permanently guarantee multidisciplinary scientific collaboration at national and international level as in some ESFRI roadmap projects (DARIAH, CLARIN) and in other relevant initiatives such as ARIADNE, EUROPEANA.
In these projects, GARR is particularly involved, as a technology partner, in DARIAH, a widespread infrastructure that aims to create a network of people, information, strategies, tools and methodologies to support researchers working for the digital use of heritage cultural. For this type of infrastructure, the connection to GARR is a resource for handling huge data streams in a reliable and secure way, archiving and storing data (but also making it easy to use by different types of users) and perform simulations that require high computing capacity. Moreover, membership in IDEM represents a guarantee in terms of security and privacy of users, nationally and internationally.
Recently, GARR has signed the network agreement for the participation in the training project entitled "Scuola a rete" in Digital Cultural Heritage, Arts and Humanities (DiCultHER), aimed at creating a virtual school (widespread campus) for the acquisition of skills in the digital sector applied to cultural heritage, art and the human sciences. The project, coordinated by the Association of Italian Cultural Institutions (AICI), sees the adhesion of 60 Italian cultural organizations, including university departments, some CNR Institutes, the BAICR Consortium, ITS Foundations (Technical Institutes), Academies, Museums , Higher Institutes for the Artistic Industries (ISIA), the Italian node of the DARIAH research infrastructure and the General States of Innovation. One of the best known initiatives of this human network is the Week of Digital Cultures, which has a wide resonance at the national level.
SYNERGY WITH METROPOLITAN AND REGIONAL NETWORKS OF PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS
The collaboration with local public administrations and universities has also allowed the creation of extensive optical fiber networks, as in the case of the Metropolitan Networks in the city of Florence and Venice, which has enabled the connection of numerous institutions of world-wide value.
These agreements bring benefits from the technological point of view, thanks to the services and high transmission capacity offered by these infrastructures at low cost. None of the actors involved, in fact, pursues profit-making.
STORIES FROM OUR COMMUNITY
GARR, To Know Us, Communities, School
The innovation of schools inevitably goes through a new way of teaching that involves the adoption of technologies inside and outside the classroom and the experimentation of interdisciplinary collaborations.
In this context, it is crucial for digital schools to be efficiently connected and with a bandwidth capacity that is proportionate to the daily needs of students and teachers. Schools are one of the most widely distributed institutions on the territory and, especially in some geographic areas, the absence of broadband connectivity adds to the already existing digital divide.
GARR, the Italian national research and education network, promotes the spread of ultra-wide bandwidth connections among schools to foster digital innovation processes in teaching and the achievement of the goals listed in the Digital Education Agenda.
High-performance connectivity and advanced services are for schools a true digital highway that offers the same technological opportunities available in the research and university sector, thus helping in building a bridge among these three sectors. Schools thus enter a wide and multidisciplinary community, which is not limited to the national level but has a wider horizon thanks to the interconnection of GARR network with other global research networks and the general Internet.
All GARR network links have a high and symmetric bandwidth, that means with the same speed in both download and upload. This feature is generally little known and it is not available in the commercial offering and it is of crucial importance for teaching as it enables schools to create content, services and applications, thus becoming and active rather than a passive network user.
Once connected to GARR network, schools become part of an interdisciplinary community that gathers university and research and perceives the network as an indispensable element to foster collaboration, the sharing of knowledge and skills, to enrich the educational experience and to facilitate education and professional guidance activities.
In addition to the benefits of a transparent and high-quality network, users can benefit of a wide range of services ranging from network management and maintenance, IT security, web domain management, public addressing, management of digital identities, multi-video conference, wi-fi on the move.
Schools at pace with Europe
The vision of connected schools is shared among many European countries, and in several cases, local national research and education networks are already interconnecting schools with their backbones. In some cases, in addition to connectivity, research networks provide schools with application services such as video conferencing, e-learning and e-collaboration tools, digital library access and online contents. The most notable example at the European level is represented by the United Kingdom, with nearly 25,000 connected schools. Other important examples are Greece, where, since 2004, all schools are connected thanks to a project for regional development co-funded by the EU, and Ireland, whose first broadband project for schools dates back to 2005 and is currently engaged in a major upgrade of its infrastructure.
Schools on the net
In recent years, GARR has focused its activity on the provision of high-performance connectivity also to schools. To date there are hundreds of institutes connected to the network, and thousands of students and teachers can benefit every day of this digital highway and play an active role in the network by creating content and collaborating, having the same opportunities of researchers all over the world. Schools are connected in a variety of ways, applying the same principles to all GARR entities: using, whenever possible, optical fibre with a minimum 100 Mbps of symmetric bandwidth. In some cases, schools are connected through regional, metropolitan or campus networks already present on the territory, in collaboration with local authorities and universities.
GARR-X Progress: a successful experience
In Southern Italy, where the digital divide is particularly evident, GARR contributed in connecting higher education schools to its optical fibre network with GARR-X Progress, a project funded by the Ministry of Education and focused on the Regions of Convergence (Sicily, Campania, Apulia and Calabria). GARR-X Progress, which was concluded in 2016, was a great opportunity for local schools but also a fundamental investment to foster the digital innovation process in teaching activities.