A DIGITAL PRE-INVENTORY OF ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE IN KOSOVO USING DOCU-TOOLS®
Kosovo is one of the new states in transition in the Western Balkans and its state institutions are not yet fully functional. Although the territory has a rich architectural heritage, the documentation and inventory of this cultural legacy by the national monument protection institutions is insufficiently-structured and incomplete. Civil society has collected far more material than the state, but people are largely untrained in the terminology and categories of professional cultural inventories and in database systems and their international standards. What is missing is an efficient, user-friendly, low-threshold tool to gather together and integrate the various materials, archive them appropriately and make all the information suitably accessible to the public. Multiple groups of information-holders should be able to feed this open-access platform in an easy and self-explanatory way. In this case, existing systems such as the Arches Heritage Inventory and Management System would seem to be too complex, as it pre-supposes a certain understanding of the standard terminology and internationally used categories. Also, the platform as archive must be able to guarantee the integrity and authenticity of the inputted material to avoid abuse through unauthorized users with nationalistic views. Such an open-access lay-inventory would enable Kosovo to meet the urgent need for a national heritage inventory, which the state institutions have thus far been able to establish. The situation is time-sensitive, as Kosovo will soon repeat its attempt to join UNESCO, having failed to do so in 2015, receiving only a minimum number of votes in favour.
In Austria, a program called docu-tools® was recently developed to tackle a similar problem. It can be used by non-professionals to document complicated and multi-structured cases within the building process. Its cloud and app-design structure allows archiving enormous numbers of images and documents in whatever format. Additionally, it allows parallel access by authorized users and avoids any hierarchy of structure or prerequisites for its users. The archived documents cannot be changed after input, which gave this documentation tool acclaimed court relevance. The following article is an attempt to explore the potential for this tool to prepare Kosovo for a comprehensive heritage inventory.