European cultural heritage, like buildings and monuments, is crucial for preserving our identity, highlighting our history and supporting the tourism industry. The preservation of our heritage requires a formidable effort to catalogue and document notable structures and sites. This task was undertaken by the EU CHIC (European cultural heritage identity card) project. The project worked on efficient compilation and storage of data for each asset and structure to support its maintenance, conservation and rehabilitation. A data management concept called the Chiceberg protocol was developed. Based on a floating iceberg, the model divided heritage asset data into three levels: general data, a pool of knowledge and decision support data. Twelve partners and six members of advisory committee from 16 countries documented different information systems and identified future research priorities linked to preserving cultural heritage. Also involved was an analysis of risk assessment methodologies complete with documentation of major risks. The researchers also elaborated the guidelines that pertain to the Chiceberg model and published them in 12 different languages. In order to test the guidelines and protocol concept, partners prepared case studies on the bases of a pre-defined Chiceberg level 1 template. In addition, the project team developed accurate criteria and indicators for resilience assessment. It outlined how evaluation of changes to heritage assets over time could be improved, in addition to consolidating all its recommendations and strategies. The results were unveiled through the project website and have been published in different forms. They were also discussed at an international conference in Croatia and at workshops in Austria and Slovenia. Overall, EU-CHIC helped create new initiatives concerning the regular monitoring and inspection of historic buildings and monuments in countries involved in the project. Project representatives for each country have established links with their governments and those responsible for safeguarding cultural heritage. Neighbouring countries could also use the scheme. In the long run, project recommendations could save money for authorities in charge of protecting these assets and help to preserve an important part of European history.
Heritage preservation, cultural and historical sites, cultural heritage