Digital Archives for Preserving and Communicating Architectural Drawings

Digital Archives for Preserving and Communicating Architectural Drawings

Roberta Spallone (Politecnico di Torino, Italy) and Francesca Paluan (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch453
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Background

Contemporary architectural archives constitute more than a documentary heritage, recently recognized and validated (Domenichini & Tonicello, 2004). Since the end of the Seventies, effectively, the principal North-American and North-European institutions engaged in the knowledge and diffusion of Architecture have been working hard and more carefully into conservation and enhancement of contemporary architectural drawings, which need specific standards for their description, preservation and fruition guaranteed by international associations, like the ICAM (International Confederation of Architectural Museums) and the ICA (International Council on Archives) since 1979.

The international archives take part to the ICA, whereas the archival cooperation in the European Union sphere is developed by a working group called European Archives Group (EAG), born in 2006.

Such a recent interest about the architectural documentary heritage, in fact, is carried out by different fields of research that starts from the analysis of the drawings and is elaborated according to numerous purposes, the study of the representation, the history of architecture and city planning.Its value is moreover justified by the same meaning taken: in addition to being a proof of a phase in the design process and a historical memory, the drawing may be considered a useful document to the reconstruction of the events happened to an artifact, or it could be evaluated as a work of art. For this motive, in the same years various institutions arose, engaged in the promotion and fruition of architecture in general, and particularly focused on the safeguard of the documentary heritage, made up of heterogeneous material. This trend, still of north European and North American origin, led to the foundation of museums or hybrid structures containing collections of architectural documents. Because of the documents complexity and heterogeneity, the need to establish new descriptive standard of the objects was immediately felt within the cataloging range. On the international level, the current state provides for standard (taken from the Library System and Document) derived initially from the archival cataloging specifications and gradually structured according to the new descriptive requirements for the architectural documents. Currently the standards most commonly used are those dictated by the International Council on Archives, such as: the ISAD (G), that is the General International Standard Archival Description; the ISAAR (CPF), that is the International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families; the ISDIAH that is the International Standard for Describing Institutions with Archival Holdings (Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali, Direzione generale per gli archivi & Servizio documentazione e pubblicazioni archivistiche, 2003).

Since the nineties, the archival administration has arranged multiple informative systems, which matter as a kind of computerized registry of the archives.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intelligent Systems and Creative Industries for Cultural Heritage: Important and integral parts of systems that support product design for the Cultural Heritage knowledge, fruition and divulgation. The Marcus Institute for Digital Educational in the Arts (MIDEA) illustrated and identified the potentialities of the emerging technologies for the learning in the Horizon Report in 2010, focusing on the area of the mobile and social media, augmented and virtual reality, localization systems, the semantic web and the action computing.

Descriptive Unit: A component of a finding aid to be used for searching. It is usually one record – or a group of records – within a fond, which is described by at least title, date of creation and reference code.

Fond: An aggregation of documents that originates from the same source.

Digital Object: A digital representation of archival materials. It could be an image, text, sound, video, 3D. It could be also the original object when born digital.

Database: A data archive about the same subject or a set of subjects connected one to each other, managed by dedicated software. The data are defined as metadata such as they identify and describe the resources and giving location information.

Architectural Document: The first definition was formulated in the conference “Towards standards for Architectural Archives” in Washington DC in 1982, with the participation of the International Confederation of Architectural Museums, the International Council of Museums, the International Council of Monuments and Sites, the Union International des Architects and UNESCO. It “designates any documentary material and anything annexed to it being correlated to the history, the theory and the practice of Architecture and the domains connected, whichever are the supports and the physical features […] created or received by public or private entities during their activities and […] collected, wherever it comes from”.

Archive: It could be defined as a collection of historical documents or records containing information about and relations with a person, a group of people, institution, place; it is also the place where such documents are kept. It is a Cultural Heritage to be preserved and enhanced in order to safeguard the memory it is the depository of.

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