RealTime IT News

Internet Fair Puts World Heritage Online

[SOUTH AFRICA] The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is launching the "Global Heritage Pavilion" as its contribution to the "Internet Fair 2001 Japan."

The Global Heritage Pavilion offers a variety of resources on the topic of World Heritage. Visitors can take a virtual tour of the West African Island of Goree -infamous as slaver's base- or read an online version of the world's oldest novel, the Tale of Genji.

You can also view a list of World Heritage sites, access or add to resources dedicated to World Heritage via a Heritage Portal, and chat via an Interaction Area.

The site only officially launches on December 31st -to coincide with the launch of the Internet Fair- but an almost-complete preview can be seen at www.inpaku.unesco.org.

The Fair itself is a Web-based event organized by the Japanese Government to promote the Internet, starting on New Year's Eve and running until December 31st 2001. The Japanese Government is supplying servers and invited governments, corporations and public bodies to create Web-based 'pavilions' that will be hosted on these servers. These pavilions are organized around Specific Themes -such as the Internet Virtual Family, Life and Money, and World Heritage- and will run for the whole year.

Specific Themes entries are closed, but there is also an Open Themes category. Anyone -including individuals- can submit a Web site based around any theme they like -from Chess to Women's Rights to Traveling in specific countries. Entry is open until the end of the year-long fair and surfers will be able to vote on these sites, with winners announced at a year-end awards function.

Many will remember 2000 as the year the dot.com bubble burst, the non-commercial applications of the Internet are going from strength to strength. The World Health Organization is busy with a program to connect doctors in the world's poorer developing countries with resources and peers in the developed world; academic texts, data and opinion is proliferating; the U.S. government has approved a plan for net-access for all schools and pupils; and home pages for individuals is becoming commonplace.

While the private sector is still working out which e-business models work, the public sector needn't worry about making money. For projects like the Internet Fair 2001 and the Global Heritage Pavilion, the rewards of providing information aren't monetary. It's a global culture of respect, awareness and curiosity.