Tag Archives: Cultural Heritage Data

DARIAH releases position paper on digitised cultural heritage

(press release originally published on the 29th of October 2020 here: https://www.dariah.eu/2020/10/29/dariah-releases-position-paper-on-digitised-cultural-heritage/

The Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) is happy to share with the wider community its position paper on digitised cultural heritage.

“We really can’t stress enough how important cultural heritage is for humanists,” said DARIAH Director Toma Tasovac. “Without digitised and born-digital cultural heritage, undertaking humanities research with digital methods would be practically impossible.”

Europe still faces significant challenges when it comes to the effective and efficient digitisation of our cultural heritage. With over 80% of Europe’s cultural heritage remaining to be digitised, there is an urgent need to re-think the European digitisation strategy in order to enable Member States to more effectively work together towards the European Commission’s ambitious, but no longer achievable, target of all European cultural heritage being digitised by 2025.

“Cultural heritage and research are traditionally seen as two separate sectors, yet the overlap and the need for tighter cooperation between the two is obvious”, Tasovac said.

For instance, a large proportion of Europe’s cultural heritage that has already been digitised is rapidly approaching its ‘sell-by’ date. Being ‘first generation’ or ‘legacy’ digitisation, it is no longer of a high enough quality for analysis using advanced digital humanities methods.

DARIAH’s position paper entitled “Cultural Heritage Data as Humanities Research Data” was submitted to the European Commission as part of the EC’s evaluation of the Recommendation of 27 October 2011 on Digitisation and Online Accessibility of Cultural Material and Digital Preservation (REC 2011/711/EU).

In the coming weeks, DARIAH plans to release a survey in order to collect feedback from both researchers and cultural heritage professionals on the topics discussed in the paper. To download “Cultural Heritage Data as Humanities Research Data: a DARIAH Position Paper”, click here.

“The Heritage Data Reuse Charter: from principles to research workflows ” working paper published

There is a growing need to establish domain-or discipline-specific approaches to research data sharing workflows. A defining feature of data and data workflows in the arts and humanities domain is their dependence on cultural heritage sources hosted and curated in museums, libraries, galleries and archives. A major difficulty when scholars interact with heritage data is that the nature of the cooperation between researchers and Cultural Heritage Institutions (henceforth CHIs) is often constrained by structural and legal challenges but even more by uncertainties as to the expectations of both parties. The Heritage Data Reuse Charter aims to address these by designing a common environment that will enable all the relevant actors to work together to connect and improve access to heritage data and make transactions related to the scholarly use of cultural heritage data more visible and transparent. As a first step, a wide range of stakeholders on the Cultural Heritage and research sector agreed upon a set of generic principles, summarized in the Mission Statement of the Charter, that can serve as a baseline governing the interactions between CHIs, researchers and data centres. This was followed by a long and thorough validation process related to these principles through surveys 1 and workshops 2. As a second step, we now put forward a questionnaire template tool that helps researchers and CHIs to translate the 6 core principles into specific research project settings. It contains questions about access to data, provenance information, preferred citation standards, hosting responsibilities etc. on the basis of which the parties can arrive at mutual reuse agreements that could serve as a starting point for a FAIR-by-construction data management, right from the project planning/application phase. The questionnaire template and the resulting mutual agreements can be flexibly applied to projects of different scale and in platform-independent ways. Institutions can embed them into their own exchange protocols while researchers can add them to their Data Management Plans. As such, they can show evidence for responsible and fair conduct of cultural heritage data, and fair (but also FAIR) research data management practices that are based on partnership with the holding institution.

You can access the full paper here: Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra, Laurent Romary. The Heritage Data Reuse Charter: from principles to research workflows. 2020. ⟨halshs-02475692⟩