Internet Archaeology 13. HEIRNET. Summary

Getting it together on-line: HEIRNET and Internet-based resource discovery tools for the Historic Environment

Kate Fernie

Research Officer, Archaeology Data Service

Cite this as: Fernie, K. 2003 Getting it together on-line: HEIRNET and Internet-based resource discovery tools for the Historic Environment, Internet Archaeology 13.


This article looks at the possibilities, opportunities and the difficulties of bringing together content about the historic environment on the Internet. Based on the experiences of HEIRNET (the Historic Environment Information Resources Network - a network of organisations from across the heritage sector) it looks at initiatives that are exploring the evolution of an integrated information environment in which archaeologists might interact with resources drawn from different organisations.

HEIRNET was formed in 1998 in recognition that increasing numbers of individuals and organisations are creating valuable information resources about different aspects of the historic environment and that both conservation managers and researchers faced difficulties in accessing these resources. HEIRNET has responded with a number of initiatives. The creation of an Internet-based register of historic environment information resources is intended to help users to discover potentially interesting resources and, by providing up-to-date contact details, to help people to make use of those resources. HEIRNET members have also been working together to explore the development of a web-portal for the historic environment - HEIRPORT. This portal exploits computer communications technology to enable users to carry out simultaneous searches of four geographically separate databases: the Archaeology Data Service, the National Monuments Record for Scotland, the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network and the Portable Antiquities programme. This article looks at what is involved in developing these resources - the metadata, the communications protocols used and the importance of co-operation between individuals and communities.

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Last updated: Wed Feb 26 2003