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|Title:||Information Technology as Cultural Heritage Preservation Tool|
|Keywords:||Historic sites - Conservation and restoration|
Cultural property - Computer simulation.
Three-dimensional imaging in archaeology
|Citation:||A.Yahya. “Information Technology as Cultural Heritage Preservation Tool”; International Conference: Globalizing Palestine: Birzeit University’s Digital Archive in an International Perspective – Towards a Chaotic Order. March 24-25, 2014. Birzeit, Palestine.|
|Abstract:||Abstract The task of cultural heritage preservation is a major endeavor that has political, economic and societal, in addition to the cultural implications. It requires the active participation of many stakeholders and needs to be founded on scientific grounds with attention to privacy/ethical issues. We argue that Information Technology, if utilized properly, can play an important role in the cultural heritage preservation by serving as a tool that can aid the process in many ways. It allows better, cheaper and longer term preservation of archival material in digital form. This applies to printed matter as well as to multimedia objects (voice, pictures, video). The Internet allows access, independent of distance, both to reach the archival materials and to contribute objects. Access/modification can be controlled/regulated/monitored with minimal human effort. Virtual tours/exhibits, better annotation, and multilingual support can improve reachability to larger audiences. Presentation methods employing computer graphics/multimedia/Virtual Reality and GIS tools can help better querying and digestion of data. IT offers new cooperation possibilities in cultural heritage preservation such as crowd sourcing which helps the democratization of the process by allowing more people to contribute even in small ways, while still observing strict safeguards. Storage distribution and mirroring help smooth access and guard against interruptions/bottlenecks/failures, technical and otherwise; The open access culture of the Internet is an impediment to restrictive practices by custodians, while still giving the tools to preserve the privacy of individuals. Reductions in storage and bandwidth costs, better connectivity and the increase in computational power of devices and the ubiquitous nature of computing as well as the pervasiveness of multilingual tools for Information Retrieval are all factors that contribute to a better integration of IT resources into the cultural heritage preservation effort. IT, however, comes at a cost: better access also means more frequent malicious access attempts; misinterpreting the role of IT as an end rather than a tool and IT workers as policy setters rather than implementers; lax treatment of the real artifacts on the assumption that digital objects are a substitute; plus the usual failures that plague IT systems: deployment delays, bugs, unclear access rights management and the dominance of technical issues at the expense of scientific/cultural aspects of the work. We argue that digital, or IT-enabled preservation of cultural heritage, is here to stay, due to its economic, technical, cultural and societal advantages[7,8]. We claim that in the Palestinian context IT may allow for preserving aspects of Palestinian Cultural Heritage, which are while endangered, may not be the focus of a critical mass of researchers/entities. Examples are: Palestinian Dialects, folk music/poetry and virtual reality models of destroyed population centers.|
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