Flemish heritage databases

If your organisation has its own heritage collection, there’s a good chance you’re already using the Erfgoedplus or Erfgoedinzicht (links in Dutch) registration and collection management systems. The Flemish Government’s Department for Culture, Youth and Media has been managing these originally provincial heritage databases since 2018, with the aim of integrating them with other existing systems.

Challenge

The heritage databases were originally set up by the provinces as a tool for registering and managing heritage collections. Ownership of these heritage databases was transferred to Flemish Government’s Department for Culture, Youth and Media in 2018, with the aim of integrating them with other existing systems. By doing so, a better alignment between both registration and collection management systems is reached, that moreover will better answer to the needs of today and tomorrow. The use of Erfgoedplus and Erfgoedinzicht is widespread among Flemish heritage institutions.

How can we integrate these two exiting heritage databases to provide a better service? Meemoo is aiming to formulate an answer to this question – in close collaboration with the Flemish government’s Department of Culture, Youth and Media (link in Dutch), FARO (link in Dutch) and the Flemish Art Collection – in this project. This mission is closely aligned with the Flemish Government’s ambition to encourage the digital transformation of the cultural sector and set up a broader ecosystem in which digital cultural content is optimally usable, findable and visible – for both the cultural sector and elsewhere.

Our role

Delaware started with a preliminary study and field survey upon request from the Flemish government in 2019. This resulted in a framework with a number of strategic recommendations for integrating the heritage databases. You can read the report here (link in Dutch).

The Department of Culture, Youth and Media then set up the Digital Collection Registration Taskforce, which meemoo is a part of. We’ve been putting our heads together with representatives from the Department of Culture, Youth and Media, FARO, the Flemish Art Collection, heritage bodies and museums to shape the future possibilities for the heritage databases.

Approach

Preliminary research and proposal (2019-2021)

We mapped out the specific requirements, available options and sticking points in three phases during the preliminary research through:

The preliminary research was carried out upon request from the Department of Culture, Youth end Media in close consultation with the heritage sector. The three phases resulted in final reports, which you can find here (link in Dutch).

The preliminary research findings led to a project proposal which suggested that the current heritage databases be integrated into two new types of systems:

  • a simple registration system with fixed entry fields and limited functionalities, aimed at organisations that own collections and non-professional users.

  • a flexible system aimed at collection management processes, with collection management institutions and professional users as the target audience.

The content on Erfgoedplus and Erfgoedinzicht is currently accessed through their own web portals. We’re investigating whether access via a shared window is possible for the new systems. Besides that we're offering access APIs and making it possible for other people to pull the data into their own information systems.

Implementation (2021-2024)

The project proposal was approved by the Flemish Government as part of its ‘Resilience Recovery Plan’ – with a budget of €2m being allocated for the integration of heritage databases. Which phases we provide, in close collaboration with the current users?

Analysis and outsourcing phase (2022-2023)

In the moment, we’re working hard on the analysis phase of the project. We'll determine the functionalities for both the collection registration and management systems, and the (first) additional services. We're involving the users in focus groups or sounding-board sessions.

Development collection registration system (starting 2023)

We’ll then embark on the development of the collection registration system and the necessary API's.

Configuration collection management system (starting 2024)

Starting 2024 we’ll roll out the collection management system and the corresponding API's, integrations with external systems and additional modules. All will be thoroughly tested.

User guidance

To make the transition to the new systems run as smoothly as possible, we will organise training sessions to make sure the users get the hang of the systems. Besides, we will provide the necessary documentation, such as manuals and FAQ.

Partners

This project was commissioned by the Department for Culture, Youth and Media in collaboration with FARO (links in Dutch) and the Flemish Art Collection.

We’re aiming to always coordinate closely with the heritage organisations that the heritage databases are intended for throughout the course of the project.

In-depth information

Do you want to dive deeper into this project? Take a look at our support environment. There you can find in-depth information on the project course of the project. First to know about additions? Subscribe to the Flemish heritage databases newsletter.

Do you have a question?
Contact Tinneke De Clercq
Project Leader Heritage Databases
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