Inventories and Monitoring

About This Group

No country can effectively manage its heritage without a comprehensive inventory. This interest group will discuss inventory techniques, digital applications, and the role of national registers.   

Goals and Activities

The initial agenda for the Inventories and Monitoring Issue Group includes the following research topics and initiatives:

  • Continue to refine, adapt, and revise the field recording form for use in various participating member states.
  • Discuss and compile a standard thesaurus of heritage-related terms, with a glossary of local variants.
  • Assist in adapting the Arches software to more effectively store data that is relevant to regional heritage.
  • Raise public awareness of the inventory process and enlist community assistance in doing so.

The Challenge

For a government heritage agency to discharge its function properly, it must have a clear knowledge of what it is responsible for protecting, as well as reliable, up-to-date documentation of the protected resources within its jurisdiction--namely through a nation’s official inventory or register of heritage resources. Inventories are essential for effective risk preparedness, periodic monitoring, and can serve as a sound based for the establishment of national registers, which publiclty recognize places of special significance.

However, while some of the participating member states have lists of selected landmarks, historical sites, or intangible heritage resources, most are uncomplete and would benefit from expansion and updating. While most are in the form of A few of these lists are available on the Internet (in various contexts, e.g., tourism promotion websites to physical planning documents), but none were found to have ready Internet access to its official heritage inventories, much less the digitized metadata for each listed entry. The absence of online access naturally limits their accessibility by both in-country heritage administrators and researchers, as well as researchers throughout and beyond the region.

During Phase II of the project, the Arches web-based inventory system (developed as Open Source software by the Getty Conservation Institute and the World Monuments Fund) was found to be a useful tool for a renewed initiative in expanding national inventories-- and as an effective tool for evaluating and recording nominations for national registers. The challenge remains to develop and disseminate these tools throughout the region and to encourage public participation in compiling inventories and nominating sites to national registers.