Digitisation of Cultural Heritage: Why is it important?

It is well known that digital technology is becoming a standard tool for the collection, preservation and dissemination efforts of arts and cultural heritage worldwide.  However, the percentage of the world’s cultural heritage that is currently available in a digitalized format disappointingly lies at 15%.

Regardless of how well some archeological findings have been protected and preserved, there are always some external factors and a great majority of ancient artifacts and sites that may affect and/or lead to the complete destruction of the most important treasures of human history.

Τo avoid this possibility, which can only be described as disastrous for the cultural history of the entire world, we must act immediately.  Technology combines processes, tools and information which promote development for the betterment of humanity.  This will help people – among other things – to pass on the treasures of the world’s cultural heritage to future generations.

There are numerous reasons that impose the digitisation of cultural heritage and will aid in avoiding disaster. Firstly, tangible cultural heritage is naturally prone to age corrosion and all the extreme weather events we face due to climate change are catastrophic. In addition, there are incidents of unexpected natural and/or man-made disasters such as the recent cases of fire that affected the 200-year-old National Museum of Brazil and its collection and the Notre-Dame Cathedral which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in France. Another situation that can lead to disaster is described in the 2015 reconstruction of Rani Pokhari in Nepal, where contractors were found guilty of using cement over traditional materials to minimise costs.

It is important to realise that once a heritage site is lost, damaged or destroyed, the restoration process is slow, if possible at all.  Although there are rapid advances in technologies that can increase the longevity of cultural heritage, some processes are extremely time-consuming.

If any kind of risk leads to a completely catastrophic situation, it will be unfair to our culture, history and the future of our children. It is up to us to preserve the heritage for ourselves, for others and for our world as a whole.


elliniki scholi OLYMPION