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Northern expertise to be shared with the nation

Date 22 Jun 2007

A website which has forged strong links between the worlds of culture and technology is going national. Museums, Libraries and Archives (MLA) North East and One NorthEast have put up £60,000 to launch Digital Services in the Cultural Sector (DiSCS-UK) across the country. The website provides a database of IT and digital services suppliers who were offered training to work with cultural and heritage organisations, particularly museums, libraries and archives.

Set up by MLA North East and One North East last year, has already proved a success, amassing a database of 80 companies providing a wide range of services from digital photography to website design. A number of cultural and heritage organisations have already logged on to find support, including Durham University, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Gateshead Central Library.

Anthea Lang, Local History Librarian at Gateshead Central Library, said: "We have gained greater awareness of the skills and expertise available in the private sector as a result of using DiSCS-UK. We were surprised at how cost effective outsourcing elements of digitisation could be and we would definitely uses DiSCS again."

Neil Bowerbank, Head of e-Strategy at MLA North East, said: "The website is already aiding the transformation of the cultural and heritage sector for the future by making collections more available to members of the public through technology. "It provides cultural and heritage organisations with a list of trained professionals with knowledge and experience in the digital, information technology and communications environment. For businesses, it opens up a completely new client base, while providing information on upcoming contracts and access to training."

Cultural and heritage organisations requiring IT or digital services are invited to log onto to search the database for a suitable service provider. Companies which provide IT or digital services are invited to join the database by contacting June Parker, Virtual Digitisation Project Manager at MLA North East, on 0191 2697981.

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