Project deliverable Open Access
This white paper reports on the findings of the MaDiH: Mapping Digital Cultural Heritage in Jordan project. It is complemented by a policy white paper. Its goal is to report on technical matters related to the project and provide advice and recommendations for future technical activity. We hope the paper is of interest to a broad audience, although it is primarily tailored to the Jordanian cultural heritage and technology communities.
MaDiH (مديح) is a collaborative UK-Jordanian project between King’s Digital Lab (KDL) at King’s College London, the Hashemite University (HU), the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL), the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (DoA), the Jordanian Open Source Association (JOSA), and the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project. The project ran for just over two years, from February 2019 to April 2021.
The goal of the project was to contribute to the long-term sustainable development of Jordan’s digital cultural heritage by identifying key systems, datasets, standards, and policies, and aligning them to government digital infrastructure capabilities and strategies. This technical white paper describes the current state of standards, datasets, data repositories and other assets, and defines requirements for future activity. The MaDiH (مديح) Policy White Paper focuses on alignment to national and international policies and standards and makes recommendations for future action. Each section of the white papers lists associated challenges and recommendations, which are summarised in appendices. Taken together, the intention is for the white papers to define the current state of digital cultural heritage (DCH) in Jordan, inform and align to Jordanian government policy, and inform planning and technical design processes that can enable the future development of Jordanian DCH.
MaDiH (مديح)’s technical goals focused on the definition of a robust technical and operational architecture for DCH to assist, among others, the Department of Antiquities in their planning processes. Analysis also aimed to identify infrastructural gaps and opportunities for further development including system development, data aggregation, and online learning; help product development teams develop their systems; facilitate the aggregation of valuable datasets held in disparate repositories, and ensure data generated from research activity is properly stored and widely accessible. Practical prototyping was used to ensure analysis and lessons learned are cost-effective and aligned to real-world scenarios.
To ensure alignment between its technical and policy goals and to provide real-world evidence of its findings, MaDiH (مديح) produced a range of digital outputs including a publicly available prototype (meta)data catalogue, a website to communicate project activity, and Twitter and Facebook accounts for public communication. Although intended as short-term research assets, used to build a sense of community and informed inform the production of the white papers, efforts have been made to sustain those assets for future use. The MaDiH (مديح) CKAN (Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network) catalogue, is of particular importance, as it fills an urgent need for a holistic view of cultural heritage datasets held across and outside Jordan. It also collects data and content that could provide the basis for future system design, data aggregation and integration (including the ability to cross-search existing databases), and product development.