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DCH 500: Frontiers in New technologies for the Documentation of Cultural Heritage






Language of Instruction


Course Description and Aims

The course will discuss advanced methods for the digital documentation of CH and their outcome for preservation, research and re-use of digital results for public outreach and CH management. It will highlight the importance of adapting available technologies with the aim of the documentation task, exploring the particular characteristic of each technology separately and as an integrated package for particular problems. The course will also focus on integrated research methodologies, including aspects of data acquisition, storage, management and interpretation, in order optimize the process of data documentation. Additional issues, such as IPR, ethics of digitization, protection against illicit traffic and authentication of CH artifacts will be discussed. A particular attention will be devoted to the problematic of inter-operability between formats of digital outcomes originating from different documentation techniques and the need of integration in international initiatives, such as Europeana Digital Library, Unesco World Heritage sites programs. It is expected that at the end of the course the students will be familiar with most advanced methods of digital documentation of Cultural Heritage assets and will be able to apply such knowledge in their research.

This semester long course will be organized in 3-hour weekly meetings which will be devoted to lectures offered by the course tutor and guest lecturers as well as discussion based seminar meetings with the contribution of experts in the field. The projected timetable of lecture and seminar meeting topics is as follows:


Lecture Topics (each topic’s content will be covered between one and two meetings)

Introduction to the course’s theme, objectives and projects
1.    Introduction to theory and research methods in the Humanities and Cultural Heritage
2.    A critical survey of existing technologies and methodologies for digital documentation of CH

Laser scanning
1.    Structure-from-motion
2.    Digitization by type of CH asset: text, images, manuscripts, icons, etc.
3.    Development of multi-media outcomes
4.    Surveying and GIS
5.    Photogrammetry

Digital documentation for CH preservation, management, authentication and education
1.    The London Charter
2.    Unesco Charter
3.    Ename Charter
4.    Venice Charter

Standards in CH digital documentation
1.    Metadata, Controlled Vocabularies and Thesauri
2.    Common standards: Lido, Dublin Core, EDM, etc.
3.    Mapping between standards
5.    Building domain ontologies
6.    Content management systems
7.    Examples – British Museum, etc.

The international perspectives of digital documentation – storage of information and its sharing, integration with Europeana and other similar initiatives.
1.    IPR issues
2.    Creative Commons and other licenses
3.    European Research Infrastructures – Ariadne, Dariah, etc.

Digital documentation and the beneficiary sectors – museums, CH management institutions, academy, urban planning and development
1.    Implications for mass digitization for museum collections
2.    Digitizing private collections and their accessibility online
3.    Integration of public sector services and digitization of CH
4.    Examples of digitization programs in the EU

Discussion-based Seminar Topics (meetings will be scheduled during the semester with the participation of guest lecturers and experts)
1.    Current critical debates in DCH: Europe and the Mediterranean cultural context
2.    Digital documentation in Cyprus – problems and prospects.
3.    Digital documentation from an international perspective – integration and inter-operability.


Grade Distribution

60% - final essay; 30% - seminar presentation; 10% - participation in class


Additional notes

The course will be supported by a summer school, devoted to the topics discussed during lectures; The course participants will also have the opportunity to be involved in STARC research projects.


Selected bibliography

  • Doerr, Martin, The CIDOC conceptual reference module: an ontological approach to semantic interoperability of metadata. AI magazine 24.3 (2003): 75.
  • Doerr, Martin, Jane Hunter, and Carl Lagoze. "Towards a core ontology for information integration." Journal of Digital information 4, no. 1 (2006).
  • Manos Baltsavias, Armin Gruen, Luc Van Gool, Maria Pateraki, Recording, modeling and visualization of cultural heritage, Taylor & Francis, 2006.
  • Fiona Cameron, Sarah Kenderdine, Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage: A Critical Discourse, MIT Press, 2007.
  • Addison, Alonzo C. "Emerging trends in virtual heritage." MultiMedia, IEEE 7, no. 2 (2000): 22-25.
  • Moen, William E. Accessing distributed cultural heritage information. Communications of the ACM 41, no. 4 (1998): 44-48.
  • Koller, David, Bernard Frischer, and Greg Humphreys. Research challenges for digital archives of 3D cultural heritage models. Journal on computing and cultural heritage (JOCCH) 2, no. 3 (2009): 7.
  • Autere, Riitta, and Mikael Vakkari. Towards cross-organizational interoperability: the LIDO XML schema as a national level integration tool for the national digital library of Finland. In Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries, pp. 62-68. Springer, 2011.
  • Pitzalis, Denis, Franco Niccolucci, and Matthieu Cord. Using LIDO to handle 3D cultural heritage documentation data provenance. In Content-Based Multimedia Indexing (CBMI), 2011 9th International Workshop on, pp. 37-42. IEEE, 2011.
  • Guidance on Inventory and Documentation of the Cultural Heritage, Council of Europe Directorate of Culture and Cultural Heritage, Council of Europe Publishing, 2001.