PurposeOver the past 20 years, heritage inventories in Flanders (Belgium) have evolved from printed books to digital inventories. This paper takes a detailed look at this evolution and highlights the interaction between the system and its users.Design/methodology/approachAfter a short introduction about the history of inventories in Flanders, this paper mainly concerns itself with the last decade. Discrete topics will be highlighted to show the effects of the interaction that has taken place.FindingsIt is obvious that a system that publishes a digital inventory needs to adapt to the user requirements. But, after years of working with a digital inventory system, it has become apparent that not only has the system been developed to the users’ needs, but also that user practice and the resulting data have been shaped by the system.Seeing data projected on a common basemap has led researchers to realise how intertwined and interdependent different types of heritage can be and how much their respective methodologies can benefit from more interaction. It has become apparent that data quality is of the utmost importance, something that can only be guaranteed by data entry standards, validation tools, and a strict editing workflow. The systems that are being developed are not expected to live on forever, but the data in them is.Originality/valueThis paper presents real-life use cases and practical applications of building and maintaining a large digital inventory system over the years and through changes in organisational structure and focus. It provides insights that are hard to ascertain from smaller projects due to the volumes of data that are handled.
Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 15, 2016