The system for digital archiving and graphic documentation of visual data in preserving and restoring cultural heritage

Hilkka Hiiop

In addition to the physical conservation, preserving cultural heritage always requires systematic recording of materials about the preservation and restoration work (photographic, graphic and written documentation), forming the basis for all further restoration and conservation activities. Traditionally the materials are recorded on paper and stored in the archives, but transition to the digital age resulted in the accumulation of the materials and disorganization in archiving. To solve the problem, in 2006–2007, the Art Museum of Estonia together with Wiseman Interactive developed a system that allows digital archiving and processing of visual information in the field. The system consists of two modules. The module for documenting visual information in graphic form allows easy tagging of different types of damages on visual images. The digitized materials can be later accessed from any location. The module for digital archiving enables systematic recording of files of documentation about cultural monuments and linking these to the general information about each work of art. The significance of the application lies in its broad range of use and user-friendliness: the system encompasses the various sections of managing cultural heritage and because it is easy to use, art restorers can focus on their specialized analysis of what to document, rather than the technical issues of how to document. See also “Rode Altarpiece in Close-up” in Youtube.