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The Basics of creation

The Basics of creation contain minimum guidelines for creating and digitising reproductions of analogue cultural heritage objects. By applying these criteria, we guarantee an end result that has  optimal quality, contains the original information (content, structure, lay-out), is open enough for future uses against reasonable costs (for creation as well as preservation). The end result and the process are both part of the Basics.

Creation of different material types

The Basics contain four guidelines for different material types:

There has been an expert meeting for every material type with professionals from the cultural heritage field and these experts are also providing updates if necessary. The objects within these four categories can be very diverse, but we do try to offer an uniform approach as much as possible.

Underlying principles

Create only once

The first principle of the Basic is that the creation of a digital object is a once only activity. The end result will serve as a master file and derivative files can be made for different forms of end use.



The Basics provide minimum guidelines for sustainable storage to enable future use and access and we encourage you to choose open file formats. Choosing these types of format increases the change the format is still available in the next years. It is also easier to convert your files to other formats if an open format does cease to exist. The use of various formats will result in usually higher costs.


It is important to determine the different forms of end use before you create your digital object. If you want to open up your collections in various contexts and systems (like your own platform,  Europeana, etc.)  you have to make sure that your collections meet a minimum number of quality criteria. This is guaranteed if you apply the Basics.


No substitution

The guidelines are not suited if you want to substitute your analogue objects with digital ones.


A unique file name

Provide your digital objects with unique file names, even if they are in different collections, to make sure you will not mix up files or lose them.


Complex objects

In many cases, multiple materials are combined in one heritage object. For instance: texts combined with images, video’s with stories, pictures of geographical objects and so on. Carriers can also be forms of heritage themselves, like books with a special cover, the antique frame of a painting, Betamax-cassettes or maps on a tapestry. If you want to include the carrier (if possible) in the digital representation, the object becomes much more complex. The Basics don’t take these cases into account, since the guidelines that are needed for such objects are far too complicated to serve as a minimum guideline.

Laatst gewijzigd: 12-09-2014

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