- Heritage Recording and Information Management in the Digital Age (SMARTdoc-heritage)
The international symposium SMARTdoc-heritage, which was held on November 19-20, 2010 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (USA), provided a wide cross-disciplinary platform for educators, professionals, heritage institutions, and managers of heritage places to share, exchange, and explore new approaches, best practices, and research results in the area of digital heritage recording, documentation, and information systems.
This event was organized by the Historic Preservation Department at the School of Design (University of Pennsylvania) with the collaboration of the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (RLICC, KU-Leuven) and the University College St. Lieven. Supporting institutions included the Kress Foundation, Sardegna fund, UNESCO World Heritage Center, UNESCO Chair for Preventive Maintenance, Monitoring, and Conservation (PRECOMOS), ICOMOS Scientific Committee on Heritage Documentation (CIPA), ICCROM, and the International Society on Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM).
This symposium, initially planned by Robin Letellier and Frank Matero, was dedicated to Letellier's unique vision and tireless effort to promote heritage conservation through research, teaching, and public service. It expands Letellier's work with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), which eventually led to the two-volume publication of Illustrated Examples: Recording, Documentation, and Information Management for the Conservation of Heritage Places produced by the GCI.
Concepts and Results
The rapid rise in new digital technologies has revolutionized the practice of recording heritage places. Digital tools and media offer a myriad of new opportunities for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information about heritage sites. But with these new opportunities, there are also many conflicts about the appropriate level and degree of recording and documentation knowledge required by conservation professionals. Research and applied uses of digital media in documenting and recording heritage sites have created an urgent dilemma in education and practice within the global heritage conservation field. UPenn, KU-Leuven, and their partners have played a leading role in this area of cross-disciplinary research and practice. SMARTdoc-heritage was envisioned as a platform to offer a unique opportunity for educators, professionals, heritage institutions, and managers [End Page 157] of heritage places to share, exchange, and explore new approaches, best practices, and research results in the area of heritage informatics.
The symposium drew the participation of over 250 professionals, academics, and students from Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Pakistan, Spain, Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela. The symposium included two internationally recognized keynote speakers, and more than twenty oral presentations were offered in five thematic forums. Speakers represented preservation organizations across the world: B. Kessler Foundation, Bryn Mawr College, ES Srl Progetti e Sistemi, the Getty Conservation Institute, Indian Trust for Cultural Heritage, Heritage Recording Unit of Canada's Heritage Conservation Directorate, Historic American Buildings Survey, Integrated Conservation Resources, Muhlenberg College, Pantel, del Cueto & Associates, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation-KU Leuven, UNESCO, University of Primorska, University College St. Lieven, University of California at Merced, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, and World Monuments Fund.
A report of each forum was presented during a roundtable session, allowing for audience responses to the issues and topics addressed during the symposium. Additionally, a poster session with over fifty submitted contributions was held at PennDesign's lower and upper galleries and five posters were awarded recognition. Papers have been selected for publication in the current and next issue of Change Over Time. Along with the posters and presenters, exhibitors from leading commercial firms demonstrated hardware and software for recording heritage places. The symposium was recorded using advanced digital video.
The symposium began with two keynotes speakers, with Francois LeBlanc serving as the event's opening keynote. LeBlanc led the Getty Conservation Institute's Field Projects during the development of the RecorDIM initiative. Leblanc argued for the increasing need for more and better recording, documentation, and information management of our cultural heritage. He stressed the alarming rate in which heritage disappears due to natural and human causes. He also presented a remembrance speech on Robin Letellier, one of the most inspiring specialists in this field during the...