JAKARTA, 22 February 2018 – The ASEAN Cultural Heritage Digital Archive (ACHDA) project was launched  this week to present ASEAN’s cultural heritage on one website, making it possible for the public to access some of ASEAN’s museum collections more easily.

The online portal will consolidate select digital archives of cultural heritage including artefacts, old documents and paintings. The project will also supplement the existing digital archives of ASEAN member states as it will digitise cultural heritage objects.

Museums and archival institutions throughout ASEAN have existing online platforms for their collections. However, ACHDA will be the first project for a single portal to provide access to ASEAN’s digital archives to raise awareness on ASEAN’s rich cultural heritage.

ACHDA is being implemented by the ASEAN Secretariat with the support of the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). NTT DATA, the same company that digitised the collections of the National Diet Library of Japan and the Vatican Library, will facilitate the digitisation process in collaboration with cultural institutions in ASEAN Member States.

ASEAN-Japan Seminar on Cultural Heritage Digital Archive was also held earlier today at the ASEAN Secretariat.

“The idea for this seminar arises from the ASEAN culture sector’s commitment to preserve and promote cultural heritage. ASEAN is blessed by having very rich and versatile cultural heritage. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to protect, preserve and promote our invaluable assets,” said Dr. AKP Mochtan, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs, at the opening of the seminar. “Digital archiving is also crucial to support our current outreach need to promote awareness and appreciation of cultural heritage by the public,” he added.

“Preserving cultural archives and collections for future generations is an urgent issue for all countries around the world. Digitalising historical documents and works of art is one of the most effective means for preserving these valuable assets. Additionally, setting up a platform for sharing digital archives will enable us to easily obtain access to cultural heritage,” said Ambassador Kazuo Sunaga of the Mission of Japan to ASEAN.  “The ACHDA project will be another shining symbol of Japan and ASEAN’s cooperation with the support of ASEAN Secretariat and NTT DATA,” he added.

Dr. Ari Ide-Ektessabi, Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University presented on the latest imaging technologies for historical and cultural assets. He also demonstrated the use of a digital scanning equipment for cultural heritage. NTT DATA also presented on the ACHDA project. The seminar was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, museum professionals, academics, cultural agencies from ASEAN, and non-government organisations.