Informations and abstract
Keywords: Mapping; Cultural Heritage; National and Regional Bodies; Data Targets and Uses.
This article proposes a discussion on the role and functions of the National Catalogue of Cultural Heritage in Italy. This is a database containing millions of pieces of mainly computerized information, with the aim of informing national policies for cultural protection and development. The article builds on the historical critical debate arising from the outset of the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione (ICCD - Central Institute for Cataloguing and Documentation) of the Ministero dei beni e delle attivita culturali e del turismo (MiBACT - Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism), and aims to shed light on two issues: that the «map» of the country's cultural heritage is biased and incomplete; and that the data is only partially available to the public. The author feels that it is necessary to re-focus the catalogue according to the new political objectives of contemporary protection and enhancement of cultural heritage, and that the Italian Government still needs to identify the sum of cultural assets that constitute the country's identity, even in a period characterized by limited financial resources. In this sense, it is necessary to strengthen the legal status of the catalogue to include it fully in the country's «protected activities»; to tie policies relating to the catalogue into governmental targets (and in particular the completion and improvement of knowledge about, and location of, heritage assets for the prevention of man-made, seismic, and other natural disasters); and to use the extensive information packs available in the catalogue to enhance the use of heritage for the purposes of tourism and the creative industries.