In May 2003—as part of the GCI's Recording, Documentation, and Information Management Initiative (RecorDIM)—the Institute hosted 12 participants from seven countries at a workshop to develop materials for recording and documentation of cultural heritage sites.

The workshop followed a roundtable held last year at the GCI (see Conservation, vol. 17, no. 2), which identified problematic gaps between documentation providers and users. Providers tend to be highly technical practitioners without expertise in cultural heritage, while users are most often conservation managers unfamiliar with current documentation techniques. At the end of the 2002 roundtable, the GCI agreed to take the lead in developing principles, guidelines, and handbooks designed to bridge the information gap between users and providers.

The focus of the May workshop was to clarify the likely users and topics to be covered by the three document types. In the area of principles, participants agreed that an existing document, Principles for the Recording of Monuments, Groups of Buildings, and Sites, produced by ICOMOS, adequately establishes the fundamental need for documentation and serves as a useful tool for cultural resource policy makers. In terms of guidelines to aid heritage managers and conservation professionals in making decisions about appropriate documentation methods and in integrating documentation into conservation, workshop participants produced a table of contents and a general outline. The group concluded that technical handbooks focused on specific documentation techniques or topics should be developed by a small team of experts in the specific technique or topic.

The GCI will continue to lead efforts to develop the guidelines and technical handbooks.

The RecorDIM Initiative is a joint project of the GCI, ICOMOS/ISPRS Committee for Documentation of Cultural Heritage (CIPA), and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).