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“Our colleagues at Historic England have been enthusiastic collaborators, and over the years have provided invaluable advice and support in developing the Arches platform,” says Tim Whalen, director of the Getty Conservation Institute. “The quality and volume of historical data maintained by Historic England and the City of Lincoln offers an opportunity for us to demonstrate the significant advantages of Arches to the international conservation community, and the benefits it offers those who are in need of a modern cultural heritage management system.”
Arches is an open-source, web- and geospatially-based information platform built to categorize and ultimately protect cultural heritage places, including buildings, archaeology, and historic landscapes. It combines international standards for cultural heritage practice with advanced information technology. Arches is also highly customizable, and can be configured to offer direct use by policymakers, property owners, developers, visitors, students, history enthusiasts, and other stakeholders.
Before Arches, no modern software system was freely available in the heritage field, often resulting in organizations expending scarce resources to create their own systems from scratch. The new system will empower decision makers and the public alike to identify and recognize the importance of England's heritage, resulting in better and more transparent management.
“For many decades London’s Historic Environment Record has been collecting information on archaeological investigations, historic buildings and places. It is used to inform new development across the capital but is not as accessible and easy to use as we would like,” says Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England. “This partnership with the Getty Conservation Institute is a wonderful opportunity to build a new system to meet the city’s needs in the 21st century and set a new standard for historic environment data.”
Through the agreements, the GCI will make enhancements to the Arches platform based on the common needs of local heritage authorities in England. These two projects will serve as a means to create an open-source software platform that will be freely available and can be readily applied by other cultural heritage organizations across England to configure and use as they see fit.
“Lincoln is a growing and developing city, and we require systems that will help us to manage our heritage in the face of change and growth, and to provide information about it online for everyone to share,” says Simon Walters, Director of Communities and Environment for City of Lincoln Council. “We are confident that Arches, customized to meet the requirements of our city’s existing heritage database, is such a system. We are also pleased to note that the work we do together here in the UK could potentially help heritage organizations across the world in later versions of the Arches system.”
Version 3.0 of the Arches platform has been implemented by a number of organizations around the world, including as national-scale inventories in Asia, by a national heritage area and as a county-level inventory in the United States, and by the City of Los Angeles as HistoricPlacesLA, which is available online at www.historicplacesla.org.
Implementation of the two projects in England will take place after the completion of Arches Version 4.0 and are expected to be launched in Lincoln in 2017 and in London in 2018.
The Arches platform was jointly initiated by the Getty Conservation Institute and World Monuments Fund in 2013. For further information on the Arches platform please visit www.archesproject.org.
The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.
The Getty Conservation Institute works to advance conservation practice in the visual arts, broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and sites. It serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the broad dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field. In all its endeavors, the Conservation Institute focuses on the creation and dissemination of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the world's cultural heritage.
Historic England is the public body that champions and protects England's historic places. Historic England looks after the historic environment, providing expert advice, helping people protect and care for it and helping the public to understand and enjoy it. Historic England provides the Historic Environment Record for Greater London.
City of Lincoln Council is the local authority responsible for the management of heritage and development in the historic city of Lincoln. With origins in prehistory, Lincoln has a broad and deep heritage that includes standing Roman monuments, a wealth of buried archaeology, and nationally important medieval buildings including the Castle, the Cathedral, and the Bishops’ Palace. As the city grows and new buildings are erected, the city council provides advice and information to help manage change for the benefit of the community. The city council also maintains the Lincoln Heritage Database, a comprehensive list of all known archaeology, historic buildings and heritage information resources in the city.