Colour image showing map background with blocks of grey showing the extent of geophysical survey and various coloured lines
Combination of geophysical survey and air photo interpretation for Marden Henge © Historic England
Combination of geophysical survey and air photo interpretation for Marden Henge © Historic England

Heritage Information Access Strategy

The Heritage Information Access Strategy (HIAS) is a programme of interlinked projects designed to simplify and improve public access to heritage data held or generated by Historic England, by Local Authority Historic Environment Records and by other bodies.

What does the Heritage Information Access Strategy involve?

HIAS is a business and culture change programme for those involved in the production and handling of heritage information that includes, and is dependent upon, a number of important procedural changes and incremental IT developments across the sector.

The HIAS programme is recognised in the Culture White Paper which says: We will ask Historic England to work with local authorities to enhance and rationalise national and local heritage records over the next ten years, so that communities and developers have easy access to historic environment records.

This shared national heritage record will define clearer roles for data creators, local authority Historic Environment Records (HERs) and Historic England, and formalise agreements which will share the joint responsibility and potentially huge benefits of a fully integrated approach.

Eight key principles for the strategy

These principles were set out at the beginning of the HIAS Programme to help gather partners together with a set of shared goals and common aims. The principles have been slightly updated in the course of discussions with HIAS partners and then agreed by the HIAS Advisory Board members.

Principle 1: Local Authority HERs should be the first point of call for and primary trusted source of investigative research data and knowledge.

Principle 2: Historic England should be the first point of call for and primary trusted source of national datasets, such as the National Heritage List for England and national marine heritage dataset.

Principle 3: Historic England, together with its partners, should continue to champion the development, maintenance and implementation of standards for the creation, management, sharing, re-use and storage of digital historic environment data.

Principle 4: Investigative research data or knowledge should be readily uploaded, validated and accessed online.

Principle 5: A national overview should continue to be delivered online through the Heritage Gateway.

Principle 6: Such data or knowledge should not be at risk of loss, fragmentation, inundation (in data), or system obsolescence.

Principle 7: Historic England should, on behalf of the nation, ensure that a security copy of all such data exists in accordance with Principles 3 and 6.

Principle 8: Digital data should be supported by material archives in safe repositories accessible to the public.

Which organisations are partners in HIAS?

The HIAS programme is a coordinated series of projects and work packages which will only succeed fully with collaboration and help from key stakeholders from the sector. The programme team within Historic England is therefore supported by an advisory panel of the following key external partners and stakeholders.

Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers - ALGAO

Institute of Historic Building Conservation - IHBC

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists - CIfA

Council for British Archaeology - CBA

Archaeology Data Service - ADS

Royal Institute of British Architects - RIBA

Society for Museum Archaeology - SMA

Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers - FAME

Planning Officers Society - POS

Arts and Humanities Research Council - AHRC

Archaeological Archives Forum - AAF

Archives and Records Association - ARA

Joint Committee of the National Amenity Societies - JCNAS

Commercial built environment sub-sector

Academic Research Community.

A number of working groups of Historic England staff and external partners, have been established to take forward a set of task-specific work packages for the HIAS programme.

Marion Page

HIAS Communication and Engagement Manager

Also of interest

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