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Developing a sustainable cultural heritage information system

Gireesh Kumar Thekkum Kara (Department of Library and Information Science, Banaras Hindu University Varanasi, UTTAR PRADESH, India)

Library Hi Tech News

ISSN: 0741-9058

Article publication date: 11 October 2021

Issue publication date: 30 November 2021




The purpose of this paper is to emphasize the need for developing an Indian cultural heritage information system (CHIS) where the cultural heritages can efficiently document, manage and preserve and integrate with a searchable user interface mechanism. Further, the study scopes out the feasibility of developing single-window comprehensive national CHIS for all the cultural heritage properties of India enlisted in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO’s) World Heritage list.


Conservation efforts and their sustenance require the support of a knowledge base cum digital archiving and information retrieval tool. The present study identifies the basic requirements, strategies and the execution of designing a reliable information system for cultural heritage inheritances to safeguard them to facilitate access to the current and future resilient communities. Approach on issues and challenges associated while developing such an information system has also been addressed with possible recommendations.


In India, even though regional level conservation efforts are occurring, no comprehensive information system, which gives the whole perspective of the item or environment of heritage site, has been developed for the heritage sites recognized by UNESCO in its World Heritage list from India. Developing such a comprehensive digital archive for cultural heritage helps to showcase its assets and ensures its visibility globally without hampering the physical form. Application Information and Communication Technology and digital technologies can extensively be used coupled with mechanisms such as mobile devices, digital systems and content visualization techniques to support the efficient and effective management in a systemized way.

Research limitations/implications

As a pilot study, this paper examined the cultural heritage properties incorporated in the UNESCO World list. There are many lesser-known and unprotected cultural heritages in different parts of the country having artistic value and the unique characteristics, and the possibility of building the similar kind of information system for them with innovative technological solutions are not covered under this study.

Practical implications

Access to such an exclusive digital archive in a single-window platform would greatly support administrators, tourist departments, culture departments, development administration and conservation activists. The digital version of cultural inheritances created under the cultural heritage of India must have relevance to different subject fields such as history, archeology, manuscript logy, art, administration, knowledge management, computer science and library science. Also, it ensures that the resources remain accessible to the public without any restrictions provided with a comprehensive recapitulation.


To the authors’ best knowledge, no such comprehensive system envisages or is practiced in the country. Developing such a system with technological and data infrastructure also helps to understand the value, support the activities related to cultural heritage and bring the local community to support and initiate such heritage conservation activities.



The research work has been done as part of the ongoing project work of the author allocated by the Institution of Eminence (IoE), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, India, under its Seed Grant Program to new faculties of BHU vide No. R/Dev/D/IoE/Seed Grant /2020-21/. The author is thankful IoE and BHU for the support.


Thekkum Kara, G.K. (2021), "Developing a sustainable cultural heritage information system", Library Hi Tech News, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 17-20.



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