ETHICAL FRAMEWORK FOR HERITAGE RECORDING SPECIALISTS APPLYING DIGITAL WORKFLOWS FOR CONSERVATION
Keywords: Ethics, code of practice, documentation, recording, cultural heritage, best practice
Abstract. Recording the physical characteristics of historic structures and landscapes is a cornerstone of preventive maintenance, monitoring and conservation. The information produced by such workflows guides decision-making by property owners, site managers, public officials, and conservators. Rigorous documentation may also serve a broader purpose: over time, it becomes the primary means by which scholars and the public apprehend a site that has since changed radically or disappeared.
The development of ethics principles (or a code of ethics) applicable to the heritage recording specialist in their conduct, responsibilities, professional practice and for the benefit of the public and communities is of paramount importance. As indicated by Smith (2019), “the values and principles inherent in the technology itself are more sharply diverging for a reckoning: we must now address not just the practical considerations of the technology we use, but also its moral and ethical implications. If we don't, we risk compromising the values of the heritage we serve.” This means that it is important that the practice allow for better planning, recording, processing and dissemination of digital workflows for the conservation of historic places. Also, digital products should improve the practice, including sharing and preserving records among heritage organizations around the world. This contribution seeks to establish a framework to review and apply ethical concepts to improve the field of digital heritage recording.