Open Knowledge

MaDiH: Mapping Digital Cultural Heritage in Jordan Policy White Paper

By James Smithies, Fadi Bala’awi, Pascal Flohr, Shatha Mubaideen, Alessandra Esposito, Sahar Idwan, Carol Palmer, Issa Mahasneh, Shaher Rababeh

This white paper reports on the findings of the MaDiH (مديح): Mapping Digital Cultural Heritage in Jordan project. It is complemented by a technical white paper. MaDiH (مديح) is a collaborative project between King’s Digital Lab (KDL) at King’s College London, the Hashemite University, the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL), the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (DoA), the Jordan Open Source Association (JOSA), and the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project. The project ran for two years, from February 2019 – April 2021.

The goal of the project was to contribute to the long-term sustainable development of Jordan’s digital cultural heritage by identifying key systems, datasets, standards, and policies, and aligning them to government digital infrastructure capabilities and strategies. This policy white paper focuses on alignment to national and international policies and standards and makes recommendations for future action. The technical white paper provides more detailed technical descriptions of standards, datasets, data repositories and other assets, and defines requirements for future activity. Each section of the white papers lists associated challenges and opportunities, which are summarised in appendices. Taken together, the intention is for the white papers to define the current state of digital cultural heritage (DCH) in Jordan, inform and align to Jordanian government policy, and inform planning and technical design processes that can enable the future development of Jordanian DCH.

MaDiH’s (مديح) policy goals aimed to ensure any technical work or analysis undertaken in the project were aligned to government policies and international best practices in cultural heritage management, digital cultural heritage, and research software engineering. Practical prototyping was used to ensure analysis and lessons learned are cost-effective and aligned to real-world scenarios, and a series of workshops with stakeholders from the cultural heritage, research, government, and technology sectors built a sense of community, facilitated knowledge exchange, and ensured the project fulfilled the needs of the local community. A hackathon, led by the Jordan Open Source Association, ensured analysis and lessons learned were aligned to educational and commercial opportunities.

To ensure alignment between its policy and technical goals and to provide real-world evidence of its findings, MaDiH (مديح) produced a range of digital outputs including a publicly available prototype data catalogue, a website to communicate project activity, and Twitter and Facebook accounts, for public communication. Although intended as short-term research assets, used to build a sense of community and inform the production of the white papers, efforts have been made to sustain those assets for future use. The MaDiH (مديح) CKAN catalogue is of particular importance, as it fills an urgent need for a holistic view of cultural heritage datasets held across and outside Jordan. It also aggregates metadata and content that could provide the basis for future system design, data aggregation and integration (including the ability to cross-search existing databases), and product development.

Publication Date:

31 May 2021

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