Web Services for Transforming e-Cultural Heritage Management in Tanzania
Monko, Gloriana Joseph
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Globally, applications of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in services management and delivery have positively transformed various sectors of economies. Similar transformations have been witnessed in Tanzania, where mobile money and the Internet have transformed the way businesses are done. However, the transformations have not taken place across all sectors of the Tanzanian economy with some sectors lagging further behind than others. Cultural heritage sector, in particular, has been slow in leveraging ICT to transform the delivery of services. The sector is characterized by poor consumption of heritage sites and artworks, neglect, low publicity, weak branding, to mention a few. Although the achieved level of skills in Internet and Web have enabled the proliferation of many useful Websites which offer services to the public, information gathering remains a huge challenge considering the size of the country, its cultural heritage from 126 tribes and the vast nature reserves. We have investigated the usefulness of Web services in promoting mechanisms to gather and disseminate information about e-Cultural Heritage in Tanzania. In our investigations, we analyzed stakeholders of the sector and realized that Web services can be used to foster mechanisms within specific groups using crowdsourcing techniques. We then proposed specific Web services that cater for information flow chain of Tanzanian's artwork industry and developed an e-cultural heritage portal for demonstration. We tested the system with a sample of selected stakeholders and the initial results indicated that the locals’ readiness for such a system is strong enough and that apart from developers benefiting from the Web services, accessibility of information and stakeholders’ visibility will improve.