PurposeThis paper seeks to identify key elements of what makes an inventory program effective for cultural heritage conservation and management. It is hoped that it will spur discussion among heritage professionals about increasing the effectiveness of inventory programs.Design/methodology/approachThis paper reflects on more than a decade of experience with the establishment of heritage surveys and inventories at national and citywide scales in the Middle East and North America, and through site-based heritage management projects. In addition, it reflects on engagement with international professionals involved with heritage inventories.FindingsHeritage inventories are permanent, ongoing records that require long-term institutional resource commitments. To be effective for heritage management, inventory programs should be established with links to heritage legislation, built upon data standards, and maintain dedicated personnel, programs of activity, and systems on an ongoing basis. Inventories are fundamentally different than heritage surveys, or other data collection activities, which collect information within a specific timeframe.Practical implicationsThe findings are based on engagement with real-world, practical applications. It is hoped that the recommendations included will be useful to professionals working in heritage institutions that are establishing inventory programs, or seeking to modernize, invigorate, or increase the effectiveness of their inventory programs.Originality/valueThis paper presents insights gained through engagement with a large number and variety of heritage inventory and survey programs and projects from across the world, reflecting on broad trends and patterns.
Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 15, 2016