Ukraine: Help for Cultural Heritage in Danger

The war in Ukraine is currently causing the flight and suffering of countless people. But it also reminds us of the fragility of the country's cultural heritage and thus of the cultural memory of a European region with diverse historical interconnections.

Helping to preserve this is one of the concerns of the initiative, which has two goals. On the one hand, reference is to be made to the possibilities offered by Wikidata with its collaborative mode of operation for recording, describing and (better) keywording the cultural heritage in Ukraine. This involves the long-term recording and documentation of architectural monuments and ensembles, garden sites, sculptures, museums and libraries and their holdings, as well as the safeguarding of already existing digital archives. In this way, information is to be preserved for the future and made (re)usable, findable (in all languages of the world) and accessible for later occupations.

On the other hand, a scientific forum for coordination, exchange and support of decentralised documentation is to be created in order to prove and preserve the existence of cultural heritage threatened by wars, catastrophes, at least with digital formats. For an initial overview of digital projects and initiatives for the protection and documentation of cultural heritage in Ukraine, a collection of links will be made available, which will be continuously supplemented.

In the long term, the initiative aims to build a sustainable network of scholars and experts at local and global level.

Wikidata-project: Documentation of the cultural heritage in the Ukraine

The international initiative "Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online" (SUCHO), which consists of volunteers from the cultural heritage sector, began shortly after the invasion of Ukraine to identify archives, collection holdings and endangered cultural property and - as best as possible - to digitally secure this data and information and thus also protect it from attacks on IT infrastructures.

In the context of this initiative, it also became clear that a lot of information and data is widely scattered and often insufficiently indexed, which makes digital securing and protection even more difficult. This also affects the extensive monument and cultural heritage holdings. The Wikidata project has now set itself the goal of indexing Ukraine's diverse cultural heritage better than before and is thus not only collecting more information, but also making it searchable and analysable thus more visible. The aim is to be able to obtain information on destroyed heritage more quickly in the event of attacks and destruction, including cultural assets that do not belong to UNESCO's World Heritage List.

The Wikidata project presented here primarily uses the properties P31 ("is a/are") and P1435 ("protection category") to describe the respective object as cultural heritage and adds further properties such as information on artists, descriptions of already registered Wikidata objects in order to compile the most meaningful information possible.

The map shown here, which was generated from Wikidata, visualises the object data from Wikidata that have the property "Protection category" (P1435) is "Monument" (Q811165).

Further information

Bildnachweis Seitenbanner: Verwendung von 'Lwów - Kaplica Boimów', Lestat (Jan Mehlich), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons