Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden)
I-Change - Politecnico di Torino
I-Change - Politecnico di Torino
Department of Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna - Department of Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna
Digital Heritage Lab - Cyprus University of Technology
University of Southern California
As a main characteristic of digital humanities their objects are cultural heritage – according to Panofsky “’the records left [by] my man’ — works of literature, art, architecture, and other products and traces of human intellectual labor”
Alvarado20117129(Alvarado, 2011)71297129017Alvarado, RafaelThe Digital Humanities SituationThe TransducerThe TransducerMay 11th, 20112011?>(Alvarado, 2011). While digital humanities focus on the application of digital technologies to support research in the humanities
Schreibman20043374c.f. e.g. (c.f. e.g. Schreibman et al., 2004, Waters, 2013, Gibbs, 2011)337433746Schreibman, SusanSiemens, RayUnsworth, JohnA Companion to Digital Humanities2004OxfordBlackwellWaters201371397139713917Waters, D. J.An overview of the digital humanitiesResearch Library IssuesResearch Library Issues3-222842013Gibbs2011713571357135012Gibbs, Frederick W.Digital humanities definitions by type19 Sept. 20112011https://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=11859&section=3?>(c.f. e.g. Schreibman et al., 2004, Waters, 2013, Gibbs, 2011), the scholarly community on (digital) cultural heritage concentrates on tangible and intangible cultural heritage objects and their preservation, education and research (c.f. e.g.
UNESCO20037690(UNESCO, 2003)769076906UNESCOCharta zur Bewahrung des Digitalen Kulturerbes, verabschiedet von der 32. UNESCO-Generalkonferenz am 17. Oktober 2003 in Paris2003https://www.unesco.de/infothek/dokumente/unesco-erklaerungen/charta-zur-bewahrung-des-digitalen-kulturerbes.html05.06.2017?>(UNESCO, 2003). Even if cultural heritage may be an agora
Ch'ng20135897(Ch'ng et al., 2013)5897589706Ch'ng, EugeneGaffney, VincentChapman, HenryVisual Heritage in the Digital Age2013London?>(Ch'ng et al., 2013), there are some central topics adressed as “
Documentation (Geometric, Architectural, Historic etc.), involving 2D and/or 3D for archiving, for studies, for planning protective interventions etc.
Accurate measurements, suitable for restoration actions, reconstructions, structural studies, protection etc.
Monitoring of its state, involving recording deformations, state of materials, assessing pathology etc.
Proper Management of its data for sustainability, risk management etc.
Preservation possibilities specially suited for fragile objects (e.g. libraries etc.)
Public Outreach, which involves visualization, dissemination, raising awareness of the public and many more” (cited according to Georgopoulos, in print).
Concerning an application of digital methods, numerous associations were funded and a lively scholarly community has arisen during the last decades. One of the most renowned associations worldwide is the CIPA Heritage Documentation, an International Scientific Committee (ISC) of ICOMOS and ISPRS (International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing). It was founded in 1964 and has the responsibilities to keeping up with technology and ensuring its usefulness for cultural heritage conservation, education and dissemination
7692(Münster, 2017a)7692769205Sander MünsterSterzer, WjatscheslawEmploying bibliometric methods to identify a community, topics and protagonists of digital 3D reconstruction in the humanitiesiConference 2017 Proceedings40-552017iSchools978-0-9884900-4-8https://doi.org/10.9776/17100?>(Münster, 2017a).
In addition, there are numerous conferences and journals focusing on digital cultural heritage, and various specific topics can be traced. Most prominent research areas are data acquisition and management, visualization or analysis. Recent topics are for instance unmanned airborne vehicle (UAV)-based 3D surveying technologies, augmented and virtual reality visualization, metadata and paradata standards for documentation or virtual museums
Münster20177691(Münster, 2017b)76917691017Münster, SanderA Survey on Topics, Researchers and Cultures in the Field of Digital HeritageISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information SciencesISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences157-162IV-2/W22017Copernicus Publications2194-9050https://www.isprs-ann-photogramm-remote-sens-spatial-inf-sci.net/IV-2-W2/157/2017/10.5194/isprs-annals-IV-2-W2-157-2017?>(Münster, 2017b). In addition, data access seems to be a crucial point in terms of legal admission, annotation and semantics, technical as well as infrastructures.
Finally, there are some characteristics shared with digital humanities. A scholarly discourse is closely related to practical applications within projects
Münster20177691(Münster, 2017b)76917691017Münster, SanderA Survey on Topics, Researchers and Cultures in the Field of Digital HeritageISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information SciencesISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences157-162IV-2/W22017Copernicus Publications2194-9050https://www.isprs-ann-photogramm-remote-sens-spatial-inf-sci.net/IV-2-W2/157/2017/10.5194/isprs-annals-IV-2-W2-157-2017?>(Münster, 2017b) and often takes place within cross-disciplinary cooperation.
Against this background, the idea of this panel is to sketch an outline of current research topics, challenges and practices in the field of digital cultural heritage. Our overarching interest is to initiate a fruitful discussion about communalities and differences between digital humanities and digital cultural heritage as well as to assess, to which extend they are two sides of the same medal.
A scholarly community on digital cultural heritage
Within this paragraph, I will outline some characteristics of the scholarly field of digital heritage. In particular, a scientific community, usage-related challenges and demands as well as epistemic cultures will be mentioned.
A community perspective:
Who are stakeholders of cultural heritage? What are topics of scientific discourse? We studied these aspects by analysing ~5000 publications in that field. Even if digital cultural heritage is a relatively new subject and a still emergent community, several protagonists, both individuals and institutions, are visible and have continuously been involved in an academic discourse since decades. Most of the researchers in the field of cultural heritage are Europeans and have a disciplinary background in the humanities and in particular archaeology. As mentioned in the introduction, a discourse is primarily driven by technologies and in particular data acquisition and management, visualization or analysis.
A usage perspective:
What are challenges and demands?
To examine current challenges and demands we conducted an online survey with more than 1000 participants. At a glance, money is named as biggest obstacle, including lacking funding opportunities for digital activities, costs for hardware and software as well as budget priorities for non-digital activities within organizations. Another big problem is a missing awareness such as a generation gap or digital divide in terms of digital literacy and frequency of use of digital tools as well as a general fear of or resistance to digital methods or – vice versa – missing awareness of limitations and requirements in the digital world. Moreover, the lack of competency and skills especially in technical domains is frequently named and vice versa would be seen as most important prospection. Finally, several participants see no obstacles for employing digital approaches in their organization.
An epistemic view:
How does digitization change research approaches in the field of cultural heritage? What marks a disciplinary culture of digital cultural heritage?
For that research, we employed various in-depth research methods such as qualitative interviews and workshops. Similar to digital humanities, also for cultural heritage the use of digital technologies and approaches is currently estimated between another sub-domain of humanities studies and to “redefine traditional humanities scholarship through digital means”
Adams20137130(Adams and Gunn, 2013)71307130043Jennifer L. AdamsKevin B. GunnKeeping Up With...Digital HumanitiesAmerican Library AssociationAmerican Library AssociationApril 5, 20132013http://www.ala.org/acrl/publications/keeping_up_with/digital_humanities (Accessed October 28, 2016)?>(Adams and Gunn, 2013). Beside the “technology-enabled” use of computational technologies to answer new types of research questions and the “technology-facilitated” employment of computational technologies as medium “for new research practices without necessarily transforming researchers’ methods”
Long20147067`, p. 42(Long and Schonfeld, 2014, p. 42)7067706706Matthew P. LongRoger C. SchonfeldSupporting the Changing Research Practices of Art Historians2014Ithaka S+R?>(Long and Schonfeld, 2014, p. 42), a third type gets visible: “humanities-enabled” research as trading in humanities techniques to answer technology related questions like user-engagement, research ethic or to perform a comprehensive explanation of technical results. A key aspect of digital cultural heritage is cross-disciplinary cooperation. With regards to De Solla Price, digital cultural heritage could be seen as a mode 2 science
De Solla Price1963112(De Solla Price, 1963)1121126De Solla Price, D.Little Science - Big Science1963New YorkColumbia Univ. Press?>(De Solla Price, 1963) with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary teamwork, the use of machines and a joint intellectual property. Consequently, a disciplinary culture is widely common to engineering but less to humanities. That may explain why humanities scholars report more frequently than engineers about the need to gain qualifications in order to enter the field of digital cultural heritage.
Space and time in Digital approach to Cultural Heritage
Digitisation changed the field of disciplines by creating a hybrid of their methodologies with ICTs. At the same times the complexity of new research, the quantity, and the quality of data available and the potential of new tools for managing and using data, ask for new cross-disciplinary approaches.
Digital Humanities and Digital Cultural Heritage could have same or different goals in using digital technologies for developing researches and interacting with a wide range of stakeholders, both in the aim of improving
keys of interpretation of the Past (Digital Humanities) and/or of improving the understanding of the Past through the fruition of Cultural Heritage. A certain link between these methodologies has to be reached to avoid repetition of digitisation efforts and to reuse data in the aim of an open access of research outcomes.
The proposed contribution will show in which way Digital Urban History and Digital Cultural Heritage meet, by adopting digital strategies of two experts, in history and in geomatics, to obtain research results useful
to document a Cultural Heritage asset,
to give information to assess cultural meanings and for the subsequent actions of valorisation, conservation, restoration, and at the same times
to implement the knowledge of historical assets.
The proposed interdisciplinary approach shares the focus on ‘spatialising’ historical information that have different significance in the two disciplines: space is a fact for geomatics as well as times is a fact for historians. Essential relationships between history and the space emerged since 1970s
Lefebvre19917755(Lefebvre, 1991)775577556Henri LefebvreThe Production of Space1991CambridgeBlackwell?>(Lefebvre, 1991) unless digital history emerged in the late 1990s
Brügger20107756(Brügger, 2010)775677566Brügger, NielsWeb History2010New York?>(Brügger, 2010) and recent awareness confirms the role played by technologies for improving this trend by visualisation of relationships between space and time
Bodenhamer20137758(Bodenhamer, 2013)775877585Bodenhamer, David J.von Lünen, AlexanderTravis, CharlesBeyond GIS: Geospatial Technologies and the Future of HistoryHistory and GIS: Epistemologies, Considerations and Reflections1-132013DordrechtSpringer Netherlands978-94-007-5009-8Bodenhamer2013https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-5009-8_110.1007/978-94-007-5009-8_1?>(Bodenhamer, 2013).
The contribution of Digital Urban History to Cultural Heritage documentation is the description of urban landscape changes by assessing the modifications and their possible causes, by linking material changes to human and natural actions such as political decisions, economic factors, earthquakes, climate changes, etc.
The study of those phenomena requires the use and interpretation of historical sources, the mutual validation of the quality of the used data and the filling of the “information gaps” that sometimes the archive contents do not allow to solve properly without an historical interpretation. Usually the digitisation, required to develop an historical research, has to put in evidence the spatial meaning of the sources in term of cartographic localisation and 3D modelling at the needed scales. Those solutions have to be shared with experts to avoid misunderstanding of the historical sources and their interpretation.
Digital Cultural Heritage experts need not only the results of the researches but also the used primary data in digital sharable formats to be distributed among the experts involved in documentation, management, valorisation, and restoration design.
Digital technology changed the way to collect, share, and manage information. Digital technologies are instruments and, as instruments, they do not have to overpass the aim of the different research. They are tools and not the focus of the Humanities and the Cultural Heritage.
A challenge: formalizing semantic knowledge and new forms of representation
The availability of new and more effective digital technologies, applied to Cultural Heritage studies, does not represent only the move from analogue to digital source material
BRÜGGER7759(Brügger, 2016)7759775917Brügger, N.Digital Humanities in the 21st Century: Digital Material as a Driving ForceDigital humanities quarterly [Online]Digital humanities quarterly [Online]1032016Available: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/10/3/000256/000256.html [Accessed November 22, 2017]?>(Brügger, 2016), but obviously, other factors also play a role
Svensson20117763`, p. 42(Svensson, 2011, p. 42)7763776317Svensson, P.The digital humanities as a humanities projectArts & Humanities in Higher EducationArts & Humanities in Higher Education42-60111-22011?>(Svensson, 2011, p. 42). Digital technologies introduce the possibility of interchangeable media able to offer multiple nodes of access to a given term or object, and enable a multidimensional approach to knowledge on several levels
STEFANI7760(Stefani et al., 2013)7760776017Stefani, C., Busayarat, C., Lom-Bardo, J., De Luca, L.A web platform for the consultation of spatialized and semantically enriched iconographic sources on cultural heritage buildingsInternational Journal on Computing and Cultural HeritageInternational Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage632013?>(Stefani et al., 2013).
Even though the Digital Humanities open up an array of possibilities either for doing what was previously done in new ways, or for rethinking well-known practices of the humanities, for instance by integrating software-supported methods and by using digital research infrastructures (
BRÜGGER7759(Brügger, 2016)7759775917Brügger, N.Digital Humanities in the 21st Century: Digital Material as a Driving ForceDigital humanities quarterly [Online]Digital humanities quarterly [Online]1032016Available: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/10/3/000256/000256.html [Accessed November 22, 2017]?>(Brügger, 2016)), the inescapable problem remains the need to make retrievable the documentation process
Münster20165859(Münster et al., 2016)5859585905Münster, SanderHegel, WolfgangCindy KröberMünster, SanderMieke Pfarr-HarfstPiotr KuroczyńskiMarinos IoannidesA classification model for digital reconstruction in context of humanities research3D Research Challenges in Cultural Heritage II3-312016ChamSpringer LNCS?>(Münster et al., 2016) behind the production of any digitized, born-digital, and reborn-digital material, as well as that concerning the cultural asset and the preservation of the data during the whole lifecycle of CH. Therefore, besides spatial modeling and its representation the digital humanities, as well as digital heritage, open to the temporal dimension (diachronic and synchronic) - which allows to know artifact not only in its evolution and transformation during its life cycle, but also through its analysis - and to the extrapolation of various possible models from fragmentary pieces of information (remains), which imply of portraying uncertainty in a digital imagery, and defining an inventory of new forms of representation for indicating distinctions between known and projected or imagined evidence.
Thanks to the development of the ICT technologies and infrastructures, and their application to research on architectural and urban cultural heritage, the semantic virtual environment platforms can become the engine for dissemination of different and customized level of knowledge
APOLLONIO7761(Apollonio, in print)776177615Apollonio, F. I.Münster, S.Friedrichs, K.Niebling, F.Seidel-Grzinska, A.The production of 3D Digital Archives and the methodologies for digitally supporting research in architectural and urban cultural heritage. CIPA’s Perspectives on Cultural HeritageUrban Heritage in the Age of Digital Librariesin printSpringer?>(Apollonio, in print).
According to theoretical humanities approaches to knowledge as knowing, observer dependent, emergent, and process-driven rather than entity-defined, next challenges will be focused on defining appropriate methodology able to ensure, through descriptive metadata jointly the connection of the data-sources and the knowledge processes involved in creating digital objects (knowledge provenance by means of semantic database) (
BRÜGGER7759(Brügger, 2016)7759775917Brügger, N.Digital Humanities in the 21st Century: Digital Material as a Driving ForceDigital humanities quarterly [Online]Digital humanities quarterly [Online]1032016Available: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/10/3/000256/000256.html [Accessed November 22, 2017]?>(Brügger, 2016);
Bruseker G.20157762(Bruseker G. et al., 2015)7762776217Bruseker G., Guillem, A., Carboni, N.Semantically documenting virtual reconstruction: building a path to knowledge provenanceISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information SciencesISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences33-40II-5/W32015?>(Bruseker G. et al., 2015)), the possibility to modeling the human processes of understanding and interpreting the digitized sources (paradata) in order to produce the 3D digital outputs, semantically enriched.
As humanistic methods are necessarily probabilistic rather than deterministic, performative rather than declarative, more advanced models of simulation than the literal techniques of current visualization will need to be designed in order to incorporate these methods within Digital Humanities.
Even though web-based ICT systems can offer increasingly updated tools for the Cultural Heritage management, providing a smart 3D navigation system, always accessible to the users via internet, we need to define standardized methodology of source or reality-based 3D reconstruction of tangible Cultural Heritage, able to ensure, throughout a (i) a transparent reconstruction workflow, (ii) 3D modeling qualified by readable quality/properties, (iii) a proper semantic structure of the 3D digital model, and (iv) a retrievable knowledge reconstruction and formalization process
APOLLONIO7761(Apollonio, in print)776177615Apollonio, F. I.Münster, S.Friedrichs, K.Niebling, F.Seidel-Grzinska, A.The production of 3D Digital Archives and the methodologies for digitally supporting research in architectural and urban cultural heritage. CIPA’s Perspectives on Cultural HeritageUrban Heritage in the Age of Digital Librariesin printSpringer?>(Apollonio, in print), the interoperability of data sets by referring to recognized standard reference ontologies.
The challenge, as hoped by Johanna Drucker
Drucker20127764(Drucker, 2012)7764776417Drucker, J.Humanistic Theory and Digital Scholarship. Debates in the Digital Humanities. Part II. Theorizing the Digital Humanities [Online], Available: http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/34 [Accessed: November 22, 2017]2012?>(Drucker, 2012) due to shifting humanistic study to a humanistically informed theory of the making of technology, consists in developing a new web philological toolbox
BRÜGGER7759(Brügger, 2016)7759775917Brügger, N.Digital Humanities in the 21st Century: Digital Material as a Driving ForceDigital humanities quarterly [Online]Digital humanities quarterly [Online]1032016Available: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/10/3/000256/000256.html [Accessed November 22, 2017]?>(Brügger, 2016) that can help the scholar gain as much information as possible about the object of study. This approach, in fact, should be able to develop applicable working techniques, to define valid strategies, and to apply classifications useful to supporting scientific work besides the conveyance of knowledge to its extraction, elicitation and representation.
The Virtual Multimodal Museum Network (ViMM)
Virtual Multimodal Museum (ViMM) is a major Coordination and Support Action across the field of Virtual Museums (VM), within the overall context of European policy and practice on Digital Cultural Heritage (DCH), funded under the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union. A highly-expert seven (7) partner consortium, coordinated by Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) leverages the support of a unique and powerful Advisory Group, consisting of many of the Europe and the world’s leading public and private sector organisations in the field, to define and support high quality policies, strategic and day-to-day decision making, the utilisation of breakthrough technological developments such as VR/AR and to nurture an evidence-based view of growth and development impacted by VM, supported by a set of case studies in culturally-rich regions of South Europe affected by economic recession.
Its work will be founded on building a consensual framework directly involving Europe’s leading VM decision-makers and practitioners in defining and resolving existing issues spread across 7 interlinked Thematic Areas (‘the 7 Ds’): Definitions – Directions – Documentation – Dimensions – Demand- Discovery - Decisions and aims for wide-reaching stakeholder participation and very high visibility. The latter will be achieved through organisation of key events at policy and practitioner/ stakeholder levels, extensive use of the media, and by the introduction of an interactive and wide-reaching communication platform, deploying social media and novel approaches to enable focused debate by all interested parties, supported by access to representations of excellence and a decision-support tool for stakeholders.
An initially broad and open approach will be refined through a process of definition, consolidation and resolution activities to arrive at a clear Manifesto and Roadmap for Action on VM/DCH, validated at a final ViMM international conference. Measurable impacts will be achieved on the role and capability of DCH – and VM in particular – to meet their enormous potential in society and the economy.
ADAMS, J. L. & GUNN, K. B. 2013. Keeping Up With...Digital Humanities.
American Library Association [Online], April 5, 2013.
ALVARADO, R. 2011. The Digital Humanities Situation.
The Transducer, May 11th, 2011.
APOLLONIO, F. I. in print. The production of 3D Digital Archives and the methodologies for digitally supporting research in architectural and urban cultural heritage. CIPA’s Perspectives on Cultural Heritage.
In: MÜNSTER, S., FRIEDRICHS, K., NIEBLING, F. & SEIDEL-GRZINSKA, A. (eds.)
Urban Heritage in the Age of Digital Libraries. Springer.
BODENHAMER, D. J. 2013. Beyond GIS: Geospatial Technologies and the Future of History.
In: VON LÜNEN, A. & TRAVIS, C. (eds.)
History and GIS: Epistemologies, Considerations and Reflections. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
BRÜGGER, N. 2010.
Web History, New York.
BRÜGGER, N. 2016. Digital Humanities in the 21st Century: Digital Material as a Driving Force.
Digital humanities quarterly [Online], 10.
BRUSEKER G., GUILLEM, A. & CARBONI, N. 2015. Semantically documenting virtual reconstruction: building a path to knowledge provenance.
ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, II-5/W3
CH'NG, E., GAFFNEY, V. & CHAPMAN, H. 2013.
Visual Heritage in the Digital Age, London.
DE SOLLA PRICE, D. 1963.
Little Science - Big Science, New York, Columbia Univ. Press.
DRUCKER, J. 2012. Humanistic Theory and Digital Scholarship. Debates in the Digital Humanities. Part II. Theorizing the Digital Humanities [Online], Available:
http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/34 [Accessed: November 22, 2017].
GEORGOPOULOS, A. in print. CIPA’s Perspectives on Cultural Heritage.
In: MÜNSTER, S., FRIEDRICHS, K., NIEBLING, F. & SEIDEL-GRZINSKA, A. (eds.)
Urban Heritage in the Age of Digital Libraries. Springer.
GIBBS, F. W. 2011.
Digital humanities definitions by type [Online]. Available:
https://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=11859&section=3 [Accessed 19 Sept. 2011].
LEFEBVRE, H. 1991.
The Production of Space, Cambridge, Blackwell.
LONG, M. P. & SCHONFELD, R. C. 2014.
Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Art Historians, Ithaka S+R.
MÜNSTER, S. 2017a. Employing bibliometric methods to identify a community, topics and protagonists of digital 3D reconstruction in the humanities.
In: STERZER, W. (ed.)
iConference 2017 Proceedings. iSchools.
MÜNSTER, S. 2017b. A Survey on Topics, Researchers and Cultures in the Field of Digital Heritage.
ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, IV-2/W2
MÜNSTER, S., HEGEL, W. & KRÖBER, C. 2016. A classification model for digital reconstruction in context of humanities research.
In: MÜNSTER, S., PFARR-HARFST, M., KUROCZYŃSKI, P. & IOANNIDES, M. (eds.)
3D Research Challenges in Cultural Heritage II. Cham: Springer LNCS.
SCHREIBMAN, S., SIEMENS, R. & UNSWORTH, J. 2004.
A Companion to Digital Humanities, Oxford, Blackwell.
STEFANI, C., BUSAYARAT, C., LOM-BARDO, J. & DE LUCA, L. 2013. A web platform for the consultation of spatialized and semantically enriched iconographic sources on cultural heritage buildings.
International Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage, 6.
SVENSSON, P. 2011. The digital humanities as a humanities project.
Arts & Humanities in Higher Education, 11
Charta zur Bewahrung des Digitalen Kulturerbes, verabschiedet von der 32. UNESCO-Generalkonferenz am 17. Oktober 2003 in Paris.
WATERS, D. J. 2013. An overview of the digital humanities.
Research Library Issues, 284
If this content appears in violation of your intellectual property rights, or you see errors or omissions, please reach out to Scott B. Weingart to discuss removing or amending the materials.
Hosted at El Colegio de México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Mexico City, Mexico
June 26, 2018 - June 29, 2018
340 works by 859 authors indexed
Conference website: https://dh2018.adho.org/