European Competence Centre for digital preservation and conservation of cultural heritage and projects supporting digital innovation in schools



Wiltz Castle, 20.01.2021


The EU Commission is establishing a center for the digital preservation and conservation of Europe’s cultural heritage. In doing so, it is responding to the demand in the information age to give greater priority to the digital availability of cultural assets alongside the physical collection and preservation of individual objects in museums, collections and archives.


A European competence center is therefore now to make cultural knowledge accessible, secure and available in digital form. The new center will be funded with up to EUR 3 million from the Horizon 2020 program over the next three years in the development and establishment phase. As a first step, a collaborative digital space will provide access to diverse sources of data, metadata, standards and guidelines.


The Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Italy, will coordinate a team of 19 experts from 11 EU member states, Switzerland and Moldova. They will design a holistic interdisciplinary approach to state-of-the-art 3D documentation of monuments and special sites, and provide virtual infrastructure, expertise, consultancy and services with a particular focus on 3D technology. This will include guidelines for data acquisition, management and storage, a catalog of documented standards, and an inventory of dedicated software and tools. In addition, a “cultural heritage cloud” will be implemented.


In both human medicine and dentistry, efforts have been underway for some time to collect and digitize patient and surgical documentation. At the level of individual practices, chairs and hospital departments, this is probably permissible on the basis of Section 630 f (1) of the German Civil Code (BGBD), if it is ensured that subsequent corrections and changes to entries in addition to the original content not only remain recognizable, but can also be traced chronologically.


Provided that the physician takes special security and protective measures to prevent the alteration, destruction or unlawful use of the stored data (cf. Section 10 (5) MBO-Ä), the storage of patient data in electronic form is also unobjectionable under professional law. However, it should not be overlooked that the evidentiary value of electronically scanned and stored documents may be reduced compared to the original, as they do not constitute “documents”.


The situation is completely different when it comes to collecting data across practices, clinics or universities, scanning it and making it available in databases. In addition to legal issues, there are a number of ethical aspects that have not been clarified and, in contrast to other countries, are currently preventing the use of digital tumor databases in Germany, for example.



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