The Arches team is thrilled to announce that we will be working with the Greater London Historic Environment Record and Historic England as well as the City of Lincoln to help implement the Arches platform for two exciting projects in England. The City of Lincoln will be using Arches to effectively manage the city’s cultural heritage data and is expected to launch their implementation in 2017. The Greater London Historic Environment Record and Historic England team will be launching their Arches-powered system in 2018 to manage and inventory Greater London’s expansive cultural heritage. Both projects will take advantage of the upcoming Arches Version 4 and are poised to become model Arches implementations in England, and the United Kingdom as a whole.

For more information about the partnership between the Getty Conservation Institute, Historic England, and the City of Lincoln, please see the following excerpt from the official press release (click here for PDF):

LOS ANGELES – The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) announced today collaborative agreements with Historic England and the City of Lincoln Council (England) to implement the Arches software platform, which will categorize, map, and describe the rich cultural heritage of Greater London and the City of Lincoln. It will showcase the diversity of each city’s long history, from prehistoric landscapes to 21st century cityscapes, from Roman coins to great cathedrals, from the Norman Conquest to the Great Fire of London, and will reveal the complex relationships of the people and events that shaped the historic environment. The partnership provides a new way for the three organizations to work together to promote the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of these cities and their histories.

“Our colleagues at Historic England have been enthusiastic collaborators, and over the years have provided invaluable advice and support in developing the Arches platform,” says Tim Whalen, director of the Getty Conservation Institute. “The quality and volume of historical data maintained by Historic England and the City of Lincoln offers an opportunity for us to demonstrate the significant advantages of Arches to the international conservation community, and the benefits it offers those who are in need of a modern cultural heritage management system.”

Arches is an open-source, web- and geospatially-based information platform built to categorize and ultimately protect cultural heritage places, including buildings, archaeology, and historic landscapes. It combines international standards for cultural heritage practice with advanced information technology. Arches is also highly customizable, and can be configured to offer direct use by policymakers, property owners, developers, visitors, students, history enthusiasts, and other stakeholders.

Before Arches, no modern software system was freely available in the heritage field, often resulting in organizations expending scarce resources to create their own systems from scratch. The new system will empower decision makers and the public alike to identify and recognize the importance of England’s heritage, resulting in better and more transparent management.

“For many decades London’s Historic Environment Record has been collecting information on archaeological investigations, historic buildings and places. It is used to inform new development across the capital but is not as accessible and easy to use as we would like,” says Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England. “This partnership with the Getty Conservation Institute is a wonderful opportunity to build a new system to meet the city’s needs in the 21st century and set a new standard for historic environment data.”

Through the agreements, the GCI will make enhancements to the Arches platform based on the common needs of local heritage authorities in England. These two projects will serve as a means to create an open-source software platform that will be freely available and can be readily applied by other cultural heritage organizations across England to configure and use as they see fit.

“Lincoln is a growing and developing city, and we require systems that will help us to manage our heritage in the face of change and growth, and to provide information about it online for everyone to share,” says Simon Walters, Director of Communities and Environment for City of Lincoln Council. “We are confident that Arches, customized to meet the requirements of our city’s existing heritage database, is such a system. We are also pleased to note that the work we do together here in the UK could potentially help heritage organizations across the world in later versions of the Arches system.”