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CORDIS Results Pack for cultural heritage conservation: the role of digital technologies and AI

cordis results pack

Europe, with its rich cultural diversity, aims to preserve cultural heritage for future generations. The CORDIS Results Pack highlights how the digitization of cultural heritage and artificial intelligence (AI) are playing a crucial role in this process.

In a continent characterized by a great variety of cultural heritage, the conservation of Europe's cultural heritage is a priority objective. Digital technologies offer innovative solutions to protect and enhance heritage, as demonstrated by the 16 EU-funded projects with a total of €45 million presented in the CORDIS Results Pack.

Threats to our cultural heritage can be of natural or human origin, such as pollution, flooding, erosion, vandalism and inadequate maintenance. The digitalisation of cultural heritage is fundamental for the protection, conservation, restoration, research, dissemination and promotion of tangible and intangible cultural assets.

Digital technologies, such as 3D modelling, AI and virtual/augmented reality, are being used not only to ensure conservation, but also to stimulate the imagination and social awareness of young digital native Europeans. The concept of “virtual museum” is gaining more and more popularity, thanks to the numerous digital innovations of the last 20 years.

The European Commission supports the cultural policy of the Member States through funding and coordination, with a particular focus on digitization and online access to cultural material. Europeana, the European platform for digital cultural heritage, works with thousands of archives, libraries and museums to facilitate access and reuse of cultural content.

The Horizon 2020 program offers significant support for research and innovation in the cultural heritage sector, with an emphasis on the use of cutting-edge technologies. Between 2014 and 2020, funding for digital cultural heritage through Horizon 2020 reached around €70 million, and funding for these initiatives will continue with the next research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe.

The CORDIS Results Pack features 16 projects contributing to efforts to digitize cultural heritage. Among these, ARCHES, DigiArt and EU-LAC-MUSEUMS use technologies such as 3D modeling and augmented reality to increase the accessibility and enjoyment of museums.

Other projects focus on increasing social awareness and interest in cultural heritage, such as PLUGGY, which developed the first social network dedicated to promoting European cultural heritage, and I-Media-Cities, which launched a revolutionary platform based on audiovisual material to discover the cultural heritage of nine European cities.

In 2021, four new projects were added, including NewsEye, which develops tools to preserve and facilitate research of historical newspapers, and TROMPA, which experiments with digital tools to enrich and democratize classical music heritage through a co-creation setup user oriented.

In conclusion, the digitalisation of cultural heritage and the use of AI are revolutionizing the way we protect and enhance European cultural heritage, stimulating the imagination and social awareness of future generations.