The World Summit on Information Society, to be held in Geneva in December 2003, can be regarded as the crucial international event of the year. The concept of the information society represents the only desirable developmental model, but it still opens a set of significant questions such as the following: how do we preserve our cultural diversities in an era of globally distributed images, stories and information; what is the level of our inclusion into this global trend; how do we motivate people to be active participants in the communication universe; are we sharing, producing or mostly consuming information; how do we build open, accessible and interactive information networks; how should we enforce particularly local development if the largest part of the world does not even have the basic infrastructure to cope with all of these, but also with further challenges posed before us by the information society.
The Round Table on eCulture organized jointly by CULTURELINK and CIRCLE between 25 and 27 April 2003 in Zagreb, Croatia, has just come to its close as this issue of the Culturelink review is going to print. It aimed to address most of these questions from a European perspective, particularly stressing the questions of information lag, the role of cultural policy in creating new forms of production and partnership, the issue of commercialization and influence of e-economy in the field, and the availability and patterns of use of already existing on-line cultural resources. Maybe the crucial question tackled at the Round Table was related to copyright, putting into focus the obstacles and barriers which prevent or can prevent the production of globally accepted legal frameworks. The meeting tried to find answers within the present system and to open a more bottom-up oriented philosophy of acting. Europe's lagging behind in the field of content industries (particularly in comparison to the United States) was also pointed out, as were some creative and pragmatic solutions oriented towards creating a more coordinated European response.
Finally, aiming to influence the work and the decisions to be taken by the World Summit on the Information Society, the formulation of an Executive Report of the Round Table is planned, containing a set of coherent recommendations drawn-up by European and Canadian cultural researchers which attended this event.
Many of those who were prevented from taking active part in the meeting in Zagreb, were able to follow the full two-day conference proceedings over the Internet via live video streaming, agreeing that the presentations and discussions were very valuable for their future work.
CULTURELINK wishes to thank all participants once more for their stimulating papers and fruitful discussions, looking forward to a growing number of such meetings, exchanges of ideas and cooperation opportunities in the future.