The “Otwarte Zabytki” (Open Monuments) project is meant to facilitate access to the knowledge about Polish historical sites and help in their preservation.
“Open” means legally accessible by anyone. All of the project’s effects will be published on the Internet under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license which means that all will be able to freely use, modify, copy and share.
In the first stage of the project we went through with an effort to create a citizens’ catalogue of historical sites based on the data provided by a government registry. We used a tool available on the Otwarte Zabytki website. It gave the opportunity to fill in basic information about a historical site: the name, adress, foundation date and GPS coordinates.
The registry of historical sites (created by voivodeship conservators and collected by The National Heritage Board of Poland) is a collection of over 65 000 records. As collecting info such as GPS geographical coordinates wasn’t a requirement throughout the years the registry lacks this kind of information. Also, the address or precise foundation date happen to differ from the reality, which makes practical use difficult.
By the means of our initiative to complete the data from the historical sites registry we wanted to show the participants and the public that it is possible to act together to make better a common good, such as the registry. We already learned that such conduct is highly effective during the Open Data Day 2011.
Right now the second stage of the project is underway in which the effects of the crowdsourcing initiative are being used to create an accessible and open social networking site about historical sites. It will allow any party to participate in the creation of the catalogue, fill missing information, monitor the state of the sites, initialize projects and educational initiatives such as planning efforts to preserve heritage or preparing educational trip plans.
Because the portal collects data about all of the Polish heritage sites, including those that are not located in Poland it is vital to encourage members of the Polish diaspora to share their knowledge about Polish heritage outside of Polish borders.
The project was inspired by the photo contest Wiki Loves Monuments 2011 arranged by the Wikimedia Polska foundation, of which Centrum Cyfrowe was a partner. We would like for our initiative to support such events in an effort to better citizens’ knowledge about historical sites.