BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER: NETWORKING HERITAGE INVENTORIES IN ENGLAND
Keywords: Heritage inventories, data standards, community projects, interoperability, historic environment, data exchange, open source
Abstract. This paper will look at the requirements for a future vision of networked, digital heritage inventories to support heritage protection in England. The present loose network presents several challenges for multiple organizations maintaining similar datasets on disparate IT software: Duplication of content; ownership of content and different approaches to recording practice and standards. This paper will discuss the potential use of the Arches Heritage Inventory and Management System as part of the vision for better operation of this network. Arches was developed by the Getty Conservation Institute, World Monuments Fund and Farallon Geographics as an open source web-based geographic information system (GIS) to help inventorize and manage immovable cultural heritage. The system is based around internationally recognized standards from both the heritage and IT sectors. These include: ISO 21127: 2006, commonly referred to as the CIDOC-CRM (Conceptual Reference Model); the CIDOC Core Data Standard for Archaeological and Architectural Sites; Core Data Index to Historic Buildings and Monuments of the Architectural Heritage as well as Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards. The proposed use of Arches as a data collection and exchange platform would provide effective and useful recording systems for small heritage projects lacking in-house IT support and the finances and skills to support their development. In addition it would promote standards to support cross-searching, data exchange and digital archiving and through its use of open source a community of IT developers, standards developers and content specialists can be developed to sustain the network.