In recent years, at a national and international level, there have been a number of initiatives to co-ordinate information systems and services for archaeological and architectural conservation. One example is the Historic Environment Information Resources Network, or HEIRNET, a consortium of UK bodies seeking to facilitate common standards and support communications links between information systems relating to the historic environment. A recent report prepared for this consortium on the increasing numbers of Historic Environment Information Resources (Chitty et al. 2000) has recommended that:
'A central register of Historic Environment Information Resources (HEIRs) should be created and supported by the community of information systems.
A technical advisory facility should be established to help projects to use data standards and data structures that assist interoperability and to bring research results to wider audiences.
Funding agencies should take concerted action to ensure that the creators of information systems incorporate accessibility and interoperability.'
The first of these recommendations has become reality with the establishment of the Heirnet register. This has been developed further with the creation of HEIRPORT, a portal using interoperability techniques to enable users to access data from a wide range of organisations.
Such moves are timely and may help archaeologists improve their input
to the new regional organisations being set up by government (such as
Regional Development Agencies, Regional Cultural Consortiums and
others). The developing regional structure provides an opportunity for
establishing improved arrangements for the protection and enhancement
of the historic environment through closer co-operation and the
development of partnerships between local authority archaeologists and
others with a concern for the historic environment. At the
international level there is also a growing trend towards
co-operation, both in terms of the creation of international standards
such as CIDOC, and through
joint projects funded, for example, by the various European Community
schemes (Clarke 2001).
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Last updated: Wed Jan 28 2004