Web3.0 for Cultural Heritage

The Web3.0 for Cultural Heritage (Web3.0CH) is a visionary digital transformation project for the cultural heritage sector. It implements the vision of ECCCH & European Data Spaces by establishing a decentralized architecture that eliminates data silos, demonopolises platforms, and ensures data sovereignty for Cultural Heritage Institutions (CHI) and participating citizens. The core of this approach is separating data from platforms and storing it on secure servers called data PODs, that can belong to individuals, organizations, and devices.

Web3.0CH combines the IDS (International Data Spaces) architecture with personal data spaces based on the Solid project initiated by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. In this way, Web3.0CH allows heritage professionals, researchers, and other users to enjoy freedom of choice of information systems, platforms, and applications to access their data. The “security by design” layer offers a single personal key for accessing different platforms and services and implements privacy-enhancing technologies (PET) that enable answering complex queries such as “how many van Gogh paintings are in private collections in Germany?” without exposing owners’ data.

One of the long-term effects is total Inclusivity, where every person with a personal, family, or community collection can participate in the digital heritage ecosystem in full right and capacity. Publishing documents, photographs, and stories on one platform will automatically add them to the owner's personal POD, making them accessible via any other platform. Web3.0CH will provide multi-century preservation by ensuring that data is securely saved by design, regardless of who created it or which platform or tool was used.

The Web3.0CH project is a venture of global significance, led by Europe, with the potential to impact every industry and domain. The project is being developed and promoted by the Post-Platforms Foundation, a non-for-profit initiative established in the Netherlands in 2021, in partnership with several Universities and other organizations from different domains.

Web3.0CH / ECCCH
In response to the ECCCH call by the European Commission, the Web3.0CH project is preparing a proposal focusing on collaboration in heritage research. The core architectural vision will guide the development of the main infrastructure of PODs, enabling GLAMs to extract thousands of digital heritage collections. Building upon this data, several Collaboration Scenarios will be developed, each representing a multi-institution research project with a focus on heritage objects and practices.
The Web3.0CH / ECCCH project will blend technological and organizational innovation. It will adopt a T-shaped approach, encompassing two dimensions: horizontally, it will demonstrate how decentralized approaches can be effectively scaled across thousands of GLAMs in Europe. Vertically, it will delve into the depth of heritage research disciplines, showcasing the transformative potential of working 'at source' on several Collaboration Scenarios spanning several institutions and disciplines.
In addition to providing access to the core Web3.0CH infrastructure and unprecedented volumes of data from thousands of GLAMs the project will also establish an Open Marketplace for Web 3.0-compatible apps, platforms and services. The marketplace will help SMEs, startups, researchers, and accelerators to develop the next generation of research tools having by default access to all the data in the Web3.0 ecosystem, fostering innovation and collaboration within the heritage research domain. Researchers will be able to access the same data via different tools, overcoming their individual functional limitations. The Marketplace will also become the gateway through which additional ECCCH projects will be included in the main decentralized architecture, avoiding vendor lock-in and fostering continuous reuse of data, once added to the PODs.
The Marketplace will seamlessly align with the Europeana Initiative. Europeana, along with its aggregators, will have an opportunity to directly enhance and enrich data ‘at source’, thereby delivering value directly to the contributing GLAMs and their local digital ecosystems. This will lead to increased benefits for participation in Europeana and amplify the impact of Europeana and its aggregators' efforts in enhancing the quality and completeness of heritage data way beyond the Europeana ecosystem.