Cultural Heritage

currently collecting yesterday’s data for tomorrow

The University of Virginia has the rare privilege and honor of being located at a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We are surrounded by history at every level, from artifact to architecture. With equipment obtained by a far-sighted grant obtained in 2011, the University of Virginia Library has been collecting cultural heritage data of the buildings, monuments, sites and objects that surround us and that come to us via our faculty and students. We have documentation tools that include laser scanners, aerial drones and photogrammetric technologies, as well as industry-standard software to collect and process what we recognize to be primary source data that is vital to our historic record as well as significant for scholarly use. In pursuit of our mission, we are researching methods of collecting, archiving and disseminating this data to our academic constituency, which ranges across our schools of Architecture and Architectural History to Mechanical and Civil Engineering and beyond. Because libraries across our nation and across the world are located close to historic sites and culturally significant objects, we believe that libraries everywhere can gather and steward cultural heritage data at some scale. The University of Virginia Library is interested in establishing a collaborative environment focused on cultural heritage data methods and workflow. We are looking to tap into the expertise that the broader research-library community brings in developing metadata standards, modes of use and innovative applications of cultural heritage data.


Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artefacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.

From :

What is meant by “cultural heritage”?
The term cultural heritage encompasses several main categories of heritage:

  • Cultural heritage
    • Tangible cultural heritage:
      • movable cultural heritage (paintings, sculptures, coins, manuscripts)
      • immovable cultural heritage (monuments, archaeological sites, and so on)
      • underwater cultural heritage (shipwrecks, underwater ruins and cities)
    • Intangible cultural heritage: oral traditions, performing arts, rituals
  • Natural heritage: natural sites with cultural aspects such as cultural landscapes, physical, biological or geological formations

From IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions)

Culture is a basic need.  A community thrives through its cultural heritage, it dies without it.

Cultural heritage consists of tangible and intangible, natural and cultural, movable and immovable assets inherited from the past. It is of extremely high value for the present and the future of a country. Access, preservation, and education around cultural heritage are essential for the evolution of people and their culture.

The preservation and restoration of cultural heritage has always been a priority for IFLA.


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