Seminar on Digital Documentation as One of the Imperative Tools for Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage Held

A scene of the discussion with presenters at the seminarⓒICHCAP

An international seminar, entitled “Protecting the Past for the Future: Digital Documentation as One of the Imperative Tools for Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage,” took place on 20 July 2019 at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul. The seminar was jointly held by ICHCAP and the Digital Heritage Lab, Graduate School of Culture Technology, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST, Prof. Jaehong Ahn). The participants discussed various methods for digital documentation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The seminar consisted of three sessions: the first covered the archiving and visualization of intangible cultural heritage; the second focused on digital documentation methods for tangible cultural heritage; and the third discussed the challenges faced by Korea in establishing cultural heritage-related digital data.

The Participants at the Digital Documentation on Cultural Heritage SeminarⓒICHCAP-2

The first session explored innovative methods for intangible heritage documentation using digital media. Angela Labrador, an American anthropologist, offered an insight into how we can use Arches (, a geospatial software platform for heritage management, in observing and mapping local intangible heritage ecosystems. A data model that uses not just database logics but semantic structures can be applied to intangible heritage analysis. Photovoice, a community-based participatory documentation tool using digital photos, can also be useful in intangible heritage inventorying. “Digital media offers exciting opportunities for engaging communities in ICH inventory processes,” Dr. Labrador explained. “Digital documentation enables democratic ways of data collection.”

Athanasios Moysiadis, a researcher at the University of Thessaly, also stated that the methodologies previously used for preserving tangible heritage have begun to be used for documenting, reenacting, and transmitting intangible heritage. Moysiadis added “laser scanning to realize 3D techniques enhances the level of the preciseness of the textual and material information to reenact intangible heritage practices and virtual reality skill can convey historical memories and customs through vivid experiences.” Moysiadis also said that multimedia can be a good tool to promote folkloristic rituals and arts to the public. Monalisa Maharjan, a researcher from the Interdisciplinary Centre of History, Culture and Societies (CIDEHUS), University of Evora, Portugal, presented social media as a tool for intangible heritage documentation. Through a case study about festivals in Kathmandu, Nepal, she explained that such events are documented in detail by community members through Facebook festival photo contests and other web pages containing festival information, which contributes to the transmission of heritage to the younger generations. Lastly, Weonmo Park, Director of the Office of Cooperation and Networking at ICHCAP, introduced ICHCAP’s various activities on safeguarding intangible heritage in the Asian Pacific region by using information technology.

In the second session, experts presented research results on new technologies for cultural heritage documentation and best practices related to heritage documentation, among others. The speakers included Andreas Georgopoulos, a professor at the National Technical University of Athens and the President of CIPA Heritage Documentation under the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and Fabio Remondino, the vice president of CIPA and a unit head of the Bruno Kessler Foundation. In the third session, Yeongyu Choi from the ICT management department of the Korea Cultural Heritage Administration explained the current status of heritage-related digital data establishment in Korea. Jaehong Ahn, a visiting professor from the Digital Heritage Lab, KAIST, introduced guidelines for 3D scanning of cultural heritage artifacts and the creation process in Korea.

ICHCAP Director-General Gi Hyung Keum said, “In this interdisciplinary era, it is very meaningful to have this international dialogue through cooperation among ICOMOS, KAIST, and ICHCAP.” The seminar was live streamed via the YouTube channel of the Cultural Heritage Administration.

Full video available below:

The seminar took place as a post program of the 6th ICOMOS CIPA Summer School held in Gyeongju, Korea, from 14 to 19 July 2019. ICOMOS is an NGO that offers advice to UNESCO on World Heritage Sites. CIPA (International Committee of Architectural Photogrammetry) Heritage Documentation is a committee operated by ICOMOS. The summer school, which was first held in Asia, was attended by sixteen cultural heritage experts from seven countries (Italy, Germany, Singapore, etc.), who were gathered to learn 3D scanning, photogrammetry, and other methods for cultural heritage documentation.