Heritage Documentation and Protection

During this session, we focused on three main themes: technical questions and issues, to upload the beta version of Hedap, vocabulary improvements and the creation of the database system.

Technical Questions

Firstly, we made the list of all the technical issues we found and discussed which improvements should be taken forward. A substantial number of amendments were made immediately to assure the stability and the ergonomic use of the App: problems regarding recording, translations, date, signatures, sites, measurements, sequence numbers, pictures were identified and fixed.

Vocabulary Issues

We chose to remove some terms, because too technical or not useful for the final aim of the app, and to add other categories. Some translations were still a problem, between English and Arabic, and between Tunisian and Libyan Arabic dialects. We decided to make 18 modifications and to translate 24 new words. We continued to discuss the possibility to have a French translation, very important for countries like Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. However, we decided to make it at the end when the app is completely developed, because it will be easier than the first step English-Arabic.

Future of the App

Objectives and goals: We agreed to create a free, simple, easy tool to document movable objects in sites and museums. But it is crucial that its use is discussed carefully among the other members of the Department of Antiquities of Libya and the Institut National de Patrimoine de Tunisie (INP) as there could be many misunderstanding about the use of the data.

Three main goals that have been agreed are:

-Documentation for fighting against illicit traffic of cultural heritage movable objects.

-Preservation of the sites and the objects

-Scientific research

Users and Security Problems: Who are going to be the end users?

-Legal authorities

-National institutions (DoA, INP…)

-International institutions (ICOM, UNESCO, ICCROM…)

-Archaeologists, researchers, curators.

The database needs to be usable by people with different levels of knowledge. The presence of many users could incur into security issues. For the App, there are absolutely no problems, because the devices (tablets) used to collect the data are not connected immediately to the internet. But with regards to the database itself, there are issues to be discussed:

-Database access: who holds the right of access?

The opinion of the group is to have strictly different levels of access, strict control of the data by official authorities, according the local choices.

Planning the database structure

What kind of database? To create the database, we thought about two main possibilities: one global database, with a centralized management system, or multiple linked national databases with the same data model structure. Participants would like to have the possibility of communication with existing external databases.

We discussed the different technical solutions to create the database.

Structure of the files: We prepared a first draft of the database and the structure of each entry.

NB: in black are the items already in the app – in italic the new items, to appear only in the database.

Hedap automatic file/ID number:



Site/Museum Inventory n°:

Registration N°: (blocked/automatic)

            Correction on registration n°: free text

Name of the object: free text

Short description: free text


            Period: Free text

            Date: Free text

            Place of production:

            Precision on production:


Object type

            Object Subtype

                        Object part


            Material Subtype


            Other technical information:



Decoration: -Decorated


                                    Type of decoration

                                    Decoration certainty:

Description: free text




            –Risk level

Risk and condition certainty: free text


Current location:

            Location certainty: free text




            Provenance certainty: free text

Old ID

New ID

 Official / Property owner: free text

Type of collection: -Public collection

                               -Private collection


Date of entry into the museum:

 Acquisition mode: -Art Market





                               -Incidental finding







Acquisition certainty:


-Date/Author(s) of registration: blocked –

            -Add an author: free text

-Date/Author(s) of modifications: automatic

            -Add an author: free text


Additional Information: free text

Bibliography / publication:




Technical system – first draft

The participants agreed on four preliminary suggestions on how to develop the database.

1) Research system

On the model of other databases, we would like to have at least the following three possibilities:

-simple search

-advanced search (with filters)

-reverse image search

2) Production of inventory list

For the use of the data and the archives, we should have the possibility to export the data in a flexible way:

-to export and print the list

-to make a full export and print file by file or a preselected number of files

-to select only different categories or different items in each file

 3) Ergonomic and aesthetic

The users interface could be twofold, a simple or a full mode, or the possibility to reveal some elements when needed, one by one.

4) Possibilities of data editing

We discussed the different possibilities to add or to remove some elements in the files in the database. For instance, some basic information should not be editable, there should be the option to delete files and photographs, there should be the option of merging two or more files or to add additional photographs from outside the app.


At the end of the discussion, we agreed to finalize the texts on the app, to look at the latest problems, and to meet again in May and September to make the final improvements. By this time, we have organized a meeting in June 2018 in Paris, with some delegates of Unesco, Icom, OCBC, Interpol, Departments of Antiquities, Durham University and French Mission in Libya, to discuss about the use and the security of the Hedap.