ARCHiVe's Aims & Objectives

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ARCHiVe aims to become a centre of international excellence innovation, creating both hardware and software for recording, archiving, interpreting and transmitting the world's cultural heritage.

ARCHiVe is primarily concerned with efficiency, effectiveness and innovation. The challenge it faces is to save money while increasing the speed of data capturing, improving the quality of the resultant data and simplifying the file formats. This is applied to a new generation of analytic tools in order to extract meaning.

Additionally, all the tools developed in ARCHiVe are made available for institutions involved in the fields of cultural heritage study, protection and conservation.

The research led at ARCHiVe will greatly contribute to the condition monitoring of artworks and cultural heritage sites throughout time. This will greatly impact decision making and procedures regarding the protection of objects and it will allow museums, institutions and private collectors to keep track of the state of objects before and after restoration procedures.

Furthermore, the non-contact high-resolution recording techniques used and developed by ARCHiVe enhance the field of digital restoration, a fast-growing application of digital technologies. In fact, they provide high-resolution data required by conservators and restorers for in-depth studies and understanding of the physical nature of the objects. They also allow the gathering of fragments of single objects that were dispersed over time and the rematerialisation of these objects in digital and physical form as facsimiles.

Implementation:

ARCHiVe is operating through four different, yet complementary strands:

1) It promotes the high-resolution 3D and colour recording of key artifacts and sites in order to facilitate their preservation, study and dissemination.
Understanding the right technology for the right task is critical in every project. While, currently, the core skills are high-resolution photogrammetry, composite photography (colour, X-Ray, infrared, ultraviolet) and the Lucida 3D laser scanner, an engineering workshop is responsible of the adaptation of existing equipment and development of new technologies, such as RTI and photometric stereo, to best fit the needs of art and cultural heritage under all their forms. This will eventually allow ARCHIVe to systematically obtain the highest possible quality of data.

2) It supports the development and application of Intelligent Computer-Vision Software. In fact, as the algorithms get more precise and the data becomes freely available, new technologies are redefining the relationship between the past and the present and are opening up new epistemological and methodological perspectives for art-historical research into cultural heritage.

3) Furthermore, generating vast amounts of data comes with the responsibility of storing it and ensuring future generations have access to it. Therefore, investigating long-term storage solutions for digital archives is another fundamentally important mission for ARCHiVe. The centre works on ensuring safe and secure digital systems to migrate, store in multiple locations, access and use various types of data without expensive proprietary software. But it also focuses on the storage of digital data in physical form capable of withstanding extended periods of time without electricity.

4) Finally, ARCHiVe focuses on transferring skills and technologies through specialised training programmes. This approach ensures local guardianship and has the potential to generate income at a local level. These training programmes take a step further compared to any other classical educational programmes as they are a hub gathering people from many different boards such as the growing community of electronic engineers, software writers, IT specialists, archivists, cataloguers, conservators and students from a wide range of disciplines.

The centre bases its training programme on a practical 'learning by doing approach', thus allowing the participants to acquire an intricate knowledge of fieldwork practice. Theory and practice are oriented to carry out actual projects of Cultural Heritage digitisation.

Training are structured around these phases of digital data management:

1. Data gathering. The first phase covers on-site recording of artifacts:

a) 2D/3D high-resolution recording systems: development, adaptation and use.
b) Combination of various systems to obtain meaningful information.
c) Methodologies for working with fragile objects and/or in sensitive sites.

  1. Data archiving. The second phase is focused on data management:

a) Short-term/long-term digital storage and metadata.
b) Management of high-resolution files or databases.
c) Dissemination and access to the information.

  1. Data processing. The third phase works around digital mediation: 

a) 2D/3D digital restoration: image processing, modelling, etc.
b) Data visualization and interactive applications: mixed-reality application, navigators, etc.
c) Preparation of digital data for rematerialisation: high-resolution prototyping.

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