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The Basics

The Basics provide a set of guidelines for the digitisation of cultural heritage that ensure a minimum level of quality. We strongly advise you to use these guidelines if you want to digitise, store and open up your digital collection in a sustainable and pliable manner.

The contents of the Basics are the result of numerous expert meetings, consultancy and other ways of feedback from cultural heritage professionals. The minimum guidelines enhance the quality of digital heritage information and enable various forms of exchanges between collections, institutions and the public. The Basics refer to all aspects of providing digital services. By using these guidelines, you will be able to preserve your digitised collections in such a way, that they can be consulted and reused in the future. Furthermore, using the Basics enable you to participate in major heritage platforms and portals, like Europeana.

All information on our website about the Basics is recognisable by this logo:

Not all information about the Basics is available yet in English. Please use the Google translate function when necessary.


We have organised (and continue to do so in the future) several meetings with experts to determine the contents of the Basics. First, we deliver a concept of the guidelines, which is then discussed with a number of experts. The text is published online after this thorough consultation and open to feedback from anyone in the cultural heritage field. The process is monitored by the advisory board of the knowledge base.   

The Basics for findability and interoperability is defined in 2007 and in 2008 we published the Basics of creating text, images, audiovisual material and geographical data and the Basics for sustainability. In 2010 we presented the Basics for description and the Basics for presentation.

Review of the Basics

In 2012 and 2013 the following texts were reviewed: findability and interoperability, creation of text and the creation of images. The reviewed versions contain use cases, examples and best practices (which are developed with our Belgian partner CEST). The Basics for audio visual content is currently being reviewed.

Further reading


Professionals are always welcome to comment on this text and share their experience with the Basics through or by emailing us:

Laatst gewijzigd: 26-10-2015

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