The goal of the Global Cultural Memory project is to create a collective archive of digital information (text, images, and, in future, sound & video) that documents both everyday and singular events, lifestyles, and achievements that have influenced the most recent fifty years of cultural memory. This project integrates cultural heritage information from many types of institutions-museums, community groups, schools, historical societies, archives, and libraries. It is a model for a future virtual distributed repository to which institutions contribute multimedia information from their collections-such as curatorial records, images, oral histories, and educational program materials.

Users can retrieve information by browsing themes or time periods, or by entering a specific question. Through this type of virtual archive users at all levels and geographic locations will be able to make connections between their personal lives and their shared cultural heritage.

Through recent projects such as the Museum Educational Site Licensing project (MESL), the educational and the museum communities have identified the critical need for providing access to both visual information and the accompanying curatorial records to enhance teaching and learning. Elementary and secondary school educators have recognized the importance of integrating images and context into their curricula. Technology now enables us to reach an ever-expanding audience who share a common interest in cultural heritage, by virtue of their personal and community perspectives.

For more information, please see the Global Cultural Memory Phase 2 Report, submitted to the Getty Information Institute in August 1997.