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HERFORUM  March 2000

HERFORUM March 2000

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Subject:

'Mapping Information Resources' (HEIRNET report)

From:

Mike Heyworth <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 16 Mar 2000 17:34:45 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (74 lines)


[apologies for cross-posting]

Historic Environment Information Resources Network (HEIRNET)

c/o Council for British Archaeology, 111 Walmgate, York YO1 9WA, tel 01904 
671417, email [log in to unmask]


A report commissioned by HEIRNET, entitled 'Mapping Information Resources' 
is now available on the HEIRNET web site at 
http://www.britarch.ac.uk/HEIRNET.  The report, by David Baker, Gill 
Chitty, Julian Richards and Damian Robinson, was intended as an 
information-gathering exercise to inform the deliberations of HEIRNET, and 
to enable it to make judgements about its future direction.

HEIRNET was formed in 1998 by the Council for British Archaeology in 
response to the realisation that many bodies, official or unofficial, at 
local, regional and national level, were creating or had already created 
information systems and collections of data relating to the "historic 
environment" (taken to mean heritage information in a broad sense, 
including that possessed by national agencies, museums, libraries, 
universities, local and national societies, and other organisations).  The 
intention was to encourage joint approaches to information strategy and 
data collection, to reduce duplication of effort, and to develop a 
strategic vision for information resources relating to the historic 
environment in the UK (HEIRs).  Membership of HEIRNET was intended to be as 
broad as possible, so that all those with an interest in the historic 
environment, and in a position to contribute to and benefit from its 
activities, could be involved.  From the outset, all the relevant national 
bodies (the DCMS, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, Cadw, the Northern 
Ireland Environment and Heritage Service, the Royal Commissions, the MGC 
and  mda, ALGAO, ARIA, SCAUM, and other bodies such as the ADS, IFA, IHBC & 
SMA) agreed to take part in the discussions.

Before these goals could be achieved, it was felt that the nature of the 
problem needed to be assessed, by means of a mapping exercise which would 
give an idea of the scope of existing HEIRs, and the scale of the task 
which would face any future initiative attempting to co-ordinate 
activities.  Thanks to financial support from a number of member 
organisations (notably English Heritage), the present report was 
commissioned, and presented to (and accepted by) a meeting of HEIRNET on 11 
January 2000.

You will see that a number of recommendations are made by the 
consultants.  While HEIRs should and must develop independently, according 
to the perceived needs of their users, it is recommended that a central 
register of them should be maintained, and that a technical advisory 
facility should be made available to facilitate communication, 
interoperability (using the Dublin core), and the production of 
high-quality information.  Funding for this facility will need to be 
sought.  In the meantime, agencies that fund projects which generate or use 
information systems should ensure both that levels of funding for the 
systems are adequate, and that the systems conform to prevailing procedures 
and standards.

It is intended, if agreement is reached at its next meeting in April, that 
a conference should be held later this year, to discuss the issues involved 
in a wider forum, and to take the recommendations forward for action.

Prof Anthony Harding
Chair, HEIRNET

---------------------------------------------------
Dr Mike Heyworth    Council for British Archaeology
Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York YO1 9WA, UK
Tel: +44 1904 671417           Fax: +44 1904 671384
            http://www.britarch.ac.uk
---------------------------------------------------



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