MaDiH (مديح): Assets Identification and Requirements Elicitation Workshop – Amman, 29th October 2019

The MaDiH (مديح) project team’s second workshop engaged the national and international cultural heritage research and institutional community to elicit suggestions on dataset identification and portal requirements.

By Alessandra Esposito

MaDiH workshop Audience and Team. Picture Credit: Khadija Al Faqeer

The second workshop of MaDiH (مديح) was hosted by the British Institute in Amman and  organised by the Council for the British Research in the Levant. One of the main outcomes from MaDiH (مديح) is a prototype of a Jordanian Cultural Heritage Data Catalogue, listing the datasets found over the course of the project. The workshop brought together cultural heritage researchers and professionals to discuss requirements for such a catalogue and to identify important known assets (datasets, systems, tools) for their integration in the MaDiH (مديح) platform. 

The morning session included talks from the MaDiH (مديح) team members, coordinated by Dr Carol Palmer. A project briefing “Mapping Digital Cultural Heritage in Jordan” was delivered by Dr Fadi Bala’awi, followed by a talk on Digital Cultural Heritage Infrastructure by Dr James Smithies. Raya Sharbain of the Jordanian Open Source Association (JOSA) talked about Open Source in Digital Heritage in Jordan. The first half of the morning was closed by a presentation illustrating the Datasets Identification Process by Dr Alessandra Esposito and Arch. Shatha Mubaideen.

The second half of the morning session was dedicated to talks offered by invited speakers. The first two talks were delivered by two MaDiH (مديح) team members, Dr Sahar Idwan and Dr Pascal Flohr. The former is Dean of Information Technology at Hashemite University and presented on technologies used to preserve the cultural heritage. The latter is a Researcher in the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA) project and illustrated the functionalities of the EAMENA online database.

Audience in the morning session of the workshop. Picture Credit: Unknown.

Ahmad al-Shami from the Department of Antiquities reported on the DoA archaeological archives and databases. Dr Jutta Häser presented the team work conducted with Hashem Khries and Bernard Beitz behind the DOJAM Project, Documentation of Objects in Jordanian Archaeological Museums. Finally, Rachael McGlensey and Razan Ahmad reported on the digitisation project of the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) Photo Archive. 

The afternoon session was conducted as an open discussion between the MaDiH (مديح) team members and the attendees, and it was characterised by a fruitful exchange of suggestions and requests for clarifications by the attending professionals working on the cultural heritage of Jordan and the region. Discussion started from the following questions:

What cultural heritage datasets should MaDiH be collecting?

What national and international projects, policies, and standards should the project align with?

A National Digital Cultural Heritage repository, how does it look like? How wide would its scope be? Who would use it? 

What kind of digital infrastructure (archives, tools etc) are needed to enable the next generation of cultural heritage and related research in Jordan?

The next workshop is scheduled in March 2020 and will be hosted by the Hashemite University.