Expert's Meeting
September 10–12, 2013

Researchers in the field of conservation–both conservation scientists and practicing conservators–gather or generate an enormous amount of data during the course of an analysis or treatment campaign on an object, artist, or site. The same is true for curators and art historians, who are increasingly incorporating into their work technical data generated by conservators and conservation scientists. The ability to capture or generate data is rapidly surpassing the ability of a single researcher, or even a small group of researchers, to fully analyze and understand the information generated.

Integrating Imaging meeting 2013



In September 2013, the GCI convened a meeting of experts to explore the extent to which computer-assisted technologies may help cultural heritage researchers integrate different types of data, including those from different researchers and different institutions, in a way that facilitates the extraction, sharing and understanding of new information by a broad community of users.

Thirty experts participated in the meeting, representing the fields of conservation, conservation science, art history, imaging science, data visualization, data and information science, astronomy, computer science, medicine, and software development. Institutions represented included cultural heritage institutions (museums and research/teaching organizations), universities, government agencies, and corporations.

During two and a half days of animated discussion, meeting participants discussed the state of the field in both cultural heritage research practice and computer-assisted technologies, identified new avenues of research that would be made possible or enhanced by data integration, suggested measures for implementing and supporting computer-assisted solutions to data integration, and identified priorities for action.

In the new paradigm envisioned during the meeting, integration of multiple types of data into a consistent, accurate, and useful (likely visual) representation, and linked data from several sources (i.e., researchers and institutions), will facilitate comparisons and correlations between different objects, from different studies, and across time.

The linking of data from multiple sources will add value to each individual data source, and the building of communities of experts with an interest in the shared data will improve the quality of interpretations made using the data.

Taken together, such a paradigm will better leverage scientific and technical studies to advance cultural heritage research. It will additionally create a more open, collaborative, global research community, in which the valued intellectual product is not the data itself, but the scholarly distillation and interpretation of that data, which will bring new insights to the conservation and understanding of cultural heritage.

Read more about the meeting's recommendations and outcomes in the meeting report.

This meeting was generously supported by Dan Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser.

Integrating Imaging group photo 2013


Last updated: February 2014

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Integrating Imaging meeting report