History of The London Charter
February 2006, A Symposium on "Making 3D Visual Research Outcomes Transparent" was convened at The British Academy, London, 23-24 February.
Presentations on various aspects of the issue of intellectual transparency were given by Drew Baker, Richard Beacham, Kate Devlin, Maurizio Forte, Sorin Hermon, Franco Niccolucci, Sofia Pescarin, Donald Sanders, Martin Turner, while Willard McCarty Chaired an interdisciplinary panel. Hugh Denard summed up each day's proceedings and proposed that the community might draw up a Charter setting out the principles that should underlie the use of three-dimensional visualisation technologies in heritage research and dissemination. Delegates discussed what the core principles of such a charter should be.
The Symposium was hosted by AHRC "Making Space" Project, King's Visualisation Lab, and co-sponsored and organised by the AHRC ICT Methods Network and VAST-Lab, PIN, Prato, Italy in the framework of the EPOCH Network of Excellence Standards activity.
On 25 February, an Expert Seminar chaired by Franco Niccolucci, also on "Making 3D Visual Research Outcomes Transparent", was convened at King's College London, during which the main principles of "The London Charter for the Use of Three-dimensional Visualisation in the Research and Communication of Cultural Heritage", Draft 1, were established.
Richard Beacham and Franco Niccolucci were nominated Joint Chairs of the London Charter initiative, and Hugh Denard and Sorin Hermon Joint Coordinators. The JISC 3D Visualisation in the Arts Network, King's College London, was appointed Secretariat.
The Expert Seminar was hosted by AHRC "Making Space" Project, King's Visualisation Lab, and co-sponsored and organised by the AHRC ICT Methods Network and VAST-Lab, PIN, Prato, Italy in the framework of the EPOCH Network of Excellence Standards activity. Those present were: Drew Baker, Chris Baugh, Richard Beacham, Marti Blazeby, Andrea D'Andrea, Hugh Denard, Kate Devlin, Graeme Earl, Achille Felicetti, Cat Fergusson, Sorin Hermon, Michael Takeo Magruder, Franco Niccolucci, Daniel Pletinckx, Donald Sanders, and Go Sugimoto.
March 2006, Draft 1 [doc / pdf] of "The London Charter for the Use of 3D Visualisation in the Research and Communication of Cultural Heritage" was produced and circulated by Hugh Denard. This draft encompassed the core principles agreed at the Symposium and Workshop, and added new principles, for discussion, on Sustainability and Access.
May 2005, EPOCH: European Network of Excellence in Open Cultural Heritage supports the London Charter as a means of "pushing forward the definition of an international charter on the credibility of virtual reconstructions." Draft 1 of the London Charter is published on the EPOCH website. Franco Niccolucci, EPOCH Director for Dissemination and Standards and Joint Chair of The London Charter Initiative, writes:
EPOCH considers the London Charter to be one of its most important achievements. The Network believes that this document and the related activity is a much needed milestone as far as the use of 3D visualization in archaeological interpretation, presentation and reconstruction is concerned. After several years of theoretical debate on this issue, the Charter finally proposes robust and authoritative guidelines for this important interdisciplinary subject. Not only has the large EPOCH partnership (90 research, higher education and cultural institutions across Europe) fully accepted and is supporting and implementing the Charter, but also the project reviewers nominated by the European Commission confirmed the validity and usefulness of the policies that the Charter dictates. The Charter has received great attention in EPOCH's Research Agenda Report. Acceptance and support of the London Charter is now spreading beyond the borders of EPOCH.
June 2006, Draft 1.1 [doc / pdf] of "The London Charter for the Use of 3D Visualisation in the Research and Communication of Cultural Heritage", containing minor revisions, was circulated and was adopted as the first official draft of The London Charter.
August 2006, The London Charter website, www.londoncharter.org, created by Julie Tolmie, JISC 3D Visualisation in the Arts Network, King's College London, is launched.
September 2006, The London Charter is indexed by Intute.
March 2007, Franco Niccolucci, EPOCH Director for Dissemination and Standards and Joint Chair of The London Charter Initiative, attended a meeting in Brussels organized by the VIOE, the Flemish National Office for Heritage. It was attended, among others, by Mr. Erwin Meylemans, Koen Vandaele and Dr. Dirk Callebaut of VIOE; Dr. Marinos Ioannides, head of the newly-formed Agency for Heritage Documentation of the Republic of Cyprus; delegates from CIMEC, the Romanian National Office for Heritage; and Dr. Mathias Wilbertz of ADAB, the Office of the Land Nieder-Sachsen (DE) for Heritage. All of these people expressed their appreciation for the Charter and their willingness to co-operate with its implementation at a Europe-wide level.
On 24 March 2007, Niccolucci presented the London Charter to Dr. Antonia Pasqua Recchia, Director General for Innovation at the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities. She was impressed by the Charter's clarity and incisiveness. An officer of the Ministry (Dr. Anne Conticello) has been appointed to develop immediately two case-studies of application of the Charter in view of its generalized implementation as a guideline adopted by the Ministry for all the presentations of Italian archaeological sites. For this, the Charter has been translated into Italian, and other languages are forthcoming.
April 2007, Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities commissions the Italian language version of Draft 1.1 of the London Charter.
May 2007, The Spring/Summer 2007 Newsletter of the UK's Arts and Humanities Data Service publishes a feature on the London Charter by Hugh Denard.
November 2007, The Italian language version of Draft 1.1 of the London Charter [doc / pdf] is published on www.londoncharter.org. Translator: Stephanie Williams. Editors: Franco Niccolucci and Sorin Hermon.
November 2007, The London Charter Advisory Board meets in Grand Parade Building, University of Brighton on 26 November, to discuss revisions to the text of the Charter and plans for disseminating the Charter internationally.
February 2008, Draft 2 of The Charter, renamed "The London Charter for the Computer-based Visualisation of Cultural Heritage", [doc / pdf] is circulated to the Advisory Board for discussion . Changes from Draft 1.1 are recorded: [doc / pdf]
May 2008, Recommendation 2.7 of the EPOCH Research Agenda for the Applications of ICT to Cultural Heritage is "Promote adherence to the principles of the London Charter for the Use of 3D Visualization in the Research and Communication of Cultural Heritage." The Full Report by David Arnold and Guntram Geser is available online in pdf format.
November 2008, The Spanish language version of Draft 1.1 of the London Charter [doc / pdf] is published on www.londoncharter.org. Translator: Serio Tejero. Editors: Alfredo Grande León and Víctor Manuel López-Menchero.
January 2009, Martin Blazeby of King's Visualisation Lab and Beatrice Rapisarda of the University of Pisa's Informatica Umanistica programme are Principal Investigators of a 9-month, collaborative project on "Implementing The London Charter in Second Life: tools and tutorials for the digitisation of cultural heritage in Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVEs)", funded by The British Council and the Italian Minestero dell'Universita e della Reicerca under the Cultural Heritage Conservation theme of the 2008-9 British-Italian partnership programme for young researchers.
February 2009, Draft 2.1 of The London Charter for the Computer-based Visualisation of Cultural Heritage [doc / pdf] becomes the official version, and is published on www.londoncharter.org. Changes from Draft 2 are recorded: [doc / pdf]
A new website for the London Charter, and new logos for the Charter and for Charter compliancy, are created by Francesco Orsi, student of Informatica Umanistica, University of Pisa, during an internship at King's Visualisation Lab.
The Charter Executive agrees that, from version 2.1.1, the word "Draft" will be removed from the Charter's title: the London Charter will be referred to by its version number, e.g. "The London Charter for the Computer-based Visualisation of Cultural Heritage (2.1.1)".
May 2010, The Polish translation of version 2.1 of the London Charter [doc / pdf] is published simultaneously on www.londoncharter.org and by the Institute of the History of Art of the University of Wrocław which embeds the advocacy of the London Charter in its research programme and launches a dedicated webpage, which lists related events and literature in Polish. Translators: Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, Agnieszka Seidel-Grzesińska and Urszula Wencka.
July 2010, The Seville Charter: implementing the London Charter in digital archaeology.
The London Charter, recognising the range and complexity of valid approaches to visualising cultural heritage, recommends the creation of specific implementation guidelines for each community of experts (London Charter Preamble and Article 1.1). The International Forum of Virtual Archaeology has agreed to take up this challenge by drafting an international document governing the implementation of best practice in computer-based archaeological visualisation. The new document is called the Seville Charter. The International Forum is now seeking contributions from international experts working in the field of digital archaeology to ensure that the outcome is a robust, consensus-based document. For further information, and to find out how you can become involved, please contact Victor Manuel Lopez Menchero Bendicho (victor.lopezmenchero(at)uclm.es) or Alfredo Grande Leon (alfredogrande(at)arqueologiavirtual.com). For more information, see: www.arqueologiavirtual.com.
2012, The London Charter is published in Paradata and Transparency in Virtual Heritage (Ashgate, 2012) edited by Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, Hugh Denard and Drew Baker, with contributions by Richard Beacham, Sorin Hermon, Franco Niccolucci, Donald H. Sanders, Hugh Denard, Mark Carnall, Matt Jones, Ryan Egel-Andrews, Kate Devlin, Martin J. Turner, Sven Havemann, Drew Baker, Mark Mudge, Maurizio Forte, Sofia Pescarin, Daniel Pletinckx and Anna Bentkowska-Kafel.
September 2012, "Virtual Restoration and Reconstruction in a London Charter Framework" Summer School offered by King's College London, as part of V-MUST: the Virtual Museum Transnational Network.
October 2012, The Chinese translation of version 2.1 of the London Charter [doc / pdf] is created by members of the Beijing Tsinghua Urban Planning and Design Institute, and published on www.londoncharter.org. Editor: SHANG Jin. Proofreading by GUO Daiheng and HE Yan with contributions by ZHANG Jun. The new translation is formally launched by Professor LIANG Wei and Hugh Denard on 18 October 2012 at the 2nd International Symposium on Cultural Heritage Conservation and Digitization, Beijing. The event was reported in China Daily, 23 October 2012.
October 2014, The Hungarian translation of version 2.1 of the London Charter [doc / pdf] is published on www.londoncharter.org. Project Manager: Bálint Kelemen (architect, heritage conservation engineer). Translation: Ágnes Kavanagh (Natural English Ltd.). Proofreading and editing: Dr. Csaba Attila Szenes. Technical review: Miklós Rácz (archaeologist).
November 2014, The Portuguese translation of version 2.1 of the London Charter [doc / pdf] is published on www.londoncharter.org, following the Acordo Ortográfico of 1990. Translation: Maria Leonor Botelho (Universidade do Porto e CEPESE-UP) & Ricardo M. Dias (Universidade do Porto). Partial translation and proofreading: João Andrade Madeira. Scientific review: Maria Leonor Botelho (Universidade do Porto e CEPESE-UP) & Vera Moitinho de Almeida (STARC, The Cyprus Institute).
February 2017, The Future of the Virtual Past: Prospects for the 3D Visualization of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology. A one-day workshop on 23 February 2017, convened by Dr Donal Cooper in the University of Cambridge's Faculty of Architecture and History of Art.
Abstract This interdisciplinary workshop marks ten years since the publication of the London Charter for the Computer Based Visualization of Cultural Heritage, the most significant attempt to establish internationally-recognised principles for the use of digital visualisation by researchers, educators and cultural heritage organisations. A decade on – with the arrival of virtual reality platforms, easy to use photogrammetric software and ever-more sophisticated scanning hardware – the possibilities for representing the past through 3D Visualisation have increased exponentially. However, progress in the 3D Visualization of cultural heritage has not been commensurate with advances in digital technology. Few 3D Visualizations measure up to the Charter’s guidelines, especially in terms of articulating their underpinning metadata in transparent fashion. Digital past environments generally remain confined to the realm of dissemination and are perceived to lack the credibility of conventional scholarly outputs.
The questions posed by the London Charter remain compelling challenges for practice today. Can digital heritage visualisation convey the intellectual rigour and transparency at the heart of art historical interpretation? How can digital environments visualise degrees of uncertainty reflecting a variety of hypotheses, invariably present in art historical research of this nature? This workshop brings together three of the original London Charter team, humanities researchers with experience of digital projects, computer scientists and specialists in photogrammetry and digital scanning to explore how future work in the field might gain greater academic acceptance not only for representing research findings but also to generate fresh data and research questions.