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8 e-dialogos · Annual digital journal on research in Conservation and Cultural Heritage · n 3 · december 2013

Fig. 1. The Court of the Lion in the Alhambra of Granada, Spain, before the restoration undertaken by Leopoldo Torres Balbás. Image from the
Fototeca del Patrimonio Histórico, IPCE, Spain
9 e-dialogos · Annual digital journal on research in Conservation and Cultural Heritage · n 3 · december 2013
but still the data are there ready for us to download
them.
The digital era has opened a new world of
opportunities, both in terms of dissemination and
documentation conservation. Libraries and archives,
traditional primary information providers, have now
the possibility to preserve their resources and offer
them worldwide.
The increase in the access has completely changed the
possibilities and way of working for scholars and this
is particularly strong in the fields of humanities. Old
articles, unknown images, manuscripts, and maps are
now not only catalogued and easily traced, but often
available through the internet. It is then noteworthy
that this accessibility has produced two major changes.
On one hand the terms of data acquisition have been
considerably reduced, which means less investment
of resources to reach the same results or better
results with the same resources. New possibilities
subsequently allow better research at a lower cost. On
the other hand, research is now available for scholars
who are not supported by strong institutes.
Digital repositories enhance the accessibility of
resources every day and for everybody, most of them
totally free. This means an effective democratization
of knowledge which crystallizes on projects like
Wikipedia. Certainly in these cases the main problem
becomes the credibility of the sites but parallel
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1. DIGITAL REPOSITORIES FOR RESEARCH
Nowadays, an old picture of the Alhambra (Spain) in
the 20th century or of Palenque (Mexico) in the 19th
century, the original Greek texts by Pausanias or the
Latin Natural History by Pliny can be searched and
easily downloaded from home, just with one click.
Then, none can deny what this represents for research
purposes. Only twenty years ago, any small doubt
required a short (or long) trip to libraries or archives,
quite often even without the certainty of finding the
answer.
However the scenario has completely changed.
Present researchers have numerous opportunities
that previous scholars could not even dream of and
that should necessarily mean an increasingly good
level in the academic production.
Besides, we often hear strong critical opinions about
collaborative information projects such as Wikipedia.
Nonetheless, both situations are part of the same
technological environment and the truth is that,
nowadays, information circulation through Internet
has totally changed its accessibility and not only.
Research itself is different since the acquaintance of
certain data does not imply any more a long journey,
weeks working inside libraries or archives and huge
funds from Universities or research institutes.
Obviously all this information also requires verification,
especially when it does not come from offi cial sites,
SHARING INFORMATION IN THE DIGITAL ERA. PICTURE HUNTING
Lucía Gómez-Robles
Architect & Art Historian, SPAIN
luciagomezrobles@gmail.com
Laura-Melpomeni Tapini
Conservator of Antiquities and Historical Buildings, GREECE
lmt@diadrasis.org
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10 e-dialogos · Annual digital journal on research in Conservation and Cultural Heritage · n 3 · december 2013
initiatives like Google Scholar make progress to select
tested scientific information. Nevertheless, non-
academic information may be extremely useful after
verification and it should not be dismissed at once.
2. PICTURE HUNTING
All attempts oriented to reach wider access to
information are very welcome to advance in our
own knowledge of the world we live in, and in our
case, we specially appreciate the efforts which allow
a better understanding of cultural heritage. For that
reason, from DIADRASIS and through our “Picture
hunting” project, this year we wanted to recognize
this international effort to make public records
accessible. During some months of 2013 we uploaded
on Facebook and Twitter different old pictures from
worldwide monuments before their conservation or
restoration. With this initiative we also profited from
the opportunity of reviewing how our heritage today
has certainly changed due to interventions carried out
throughout the last century .
The hunting was proposed as a riddle by posting
the image without credits, allowing our Facebook
followers to propose the name of the place and
additional information, if known. The final solution to
the riddle was published the following day with a brief
explanation on the conservation history of the site
or monument, and introducing the digital repository
from which each of the images was taken from,
adding the general contents of the archives. Some
of our followers played with us by proposing their
answers and comments, and sometimes collaborating
by providing the right answer.
3. THE CASES
We posted 19 pictures of monuments from 14
different countries, mainly previous to conservation
or restoration interventions which also offered some
surprises about intensive works carried out at the end
of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. As
we explained before, every image appeared without
reference; the latter was posted the day after, together
with basic information on the digital repository that
hosted the illustration. The goal was not only to make
public some unknown views of famous monuments,
but also to introduce a number of digital repositories
with available information about cultural heritage.
The cases were the following ones:
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Court of the Lions with the fountain of the Alhambra, Granada,
Spain. The image depicts the 19th century intervention with
the invented dome.
Leopoldo Torres Balbás, conservation architect of the
Alhambra at the beginning of the 20th century, removed it and
constructed a roof closer to the original design.
A scandal was provoked, because he decided to remove the
invented domes of which the population of the time was used
to. Their disappointment was that strongly manifested that
Torres Balbás lost his job as conservation Architect of the
Alhambra.
Also in this picture one can see another invented addition in
the center of the fountain which is nowadays also removed.
REFERENCE: Granada (Alhambra) - Fuente y patio de los Leones.
Laurent, J. (1816-1886)
Fondo RUIZ VERNACCI, VN-05011
Image from the Fototeca del Patrimonio Histórico, IPCE, Spain.
This photographic library includes 19th and 20th century
pictures of Spanish Cultural Heritage and all the collections are
available on line.
WEBSITE: http://www.mcu.es/fototeca_patrimonio/search_
fields.do?buscador=porCampos
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The temple of Inscriptions, in Palenque, México, was
photographed by Alfred Percival Maudslay during his trip
to the archaeological site between 1890 and 1891. He also
conducted many drawings and plans to document the ruins.
REFERENCE: Plate 50. THE TEMPLE OF INSCRIPTIONS FROM THE
WEST SIDE OF THE PALACE MOUND.
Volume III. Maudslay’s Archaeology: The Plates
Biologia Centrali-Americana
Mesoweb Online publications
copyright 1996-2012 Mesoweb, Jorge Perez de Lara, Mark Van
Stone, Merle Greene Robertson, Joel Skidmore.
Image from Mesoweb, a large collection of articles and
resources on Mesoamerica and its cultures, primarily Maya,
Aztec and Olmec, maintained by Joel Skidmore. Includes an
illustrated encyclopedia of Mesoamerica.
WEBSITE: http://www.mesoweb.com/
Etching of Paestum, Italy, circa 1778 “Autre Vue de la Facade du
Pronaos, dessine et decrit dans la planche V.”
The temple did not get under any large-scale anastylosis
trearment during the 19th-20th century, a common practice
of the time.
REFERENCE: PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista, 1720-1778.
Differentes vues de quelques restes de trois grands edifices
qui subsistent encore dans le milieu de l’ancienne ville de
Pesto autrement Possidonia, et qui est situee dans la Lucanie.
- [Roma : s.n., 1778]. – [1], XX folhas de est. : toda il. ; 84 cm.
. – Enc. em meio amador
From Biblioteca Geral digital database. It covers data of
different data, mainly on portuguese culture, but not only.
WEBSITE: http://almamater.uc.pt/index.asp?f=BGUCD
Roman theater of Merida, Spain, before the reconstruction
conducted by Menendez Pidal.
REFERENCE: Melida y Alinari, Jose Ramon (1856-1933). El teatro
romano de Merida. Madrid: 1915.
Book from the Repositorio de Objetos Digitales y Aprendizaje.
Gobierno de Extremadura.
WEBSITE: http://194.179.111.11:8070/roda/gsearch.action
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The Eiffel tower in Paris, France, during maintenance works.
REFERENCE: On repeint la Tour Eiffel : [photographie de
presse] / Agence Mondial. Constructed in 1889 for the World’s
Fair requires periodical maintenance to protect the tower
from rust.
Agence de presse Mondial Photo-Presse. Agence
photographique. Bibliotheche nationale de France.
Image from Gallica, Biblioteche Numérique, it is the system to
provide free access to copyright documents by the National
Library of France. Gallica provides access to documents
digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de France but also by
partner libraries. Recently published e-books are also available
via the search engine.
WEBSITE: http://gallica.bnf.fr/?lang=FR
The pyramid of the moon in Teotihuacan, Mexico. As other
mesoamerican archaological sites, is the result of extensive
restoration efforts.
The pyramid of the moon together with the rest of the site
were reconstructed in the early 20th century.
REFERENCE: Pyramide de la lune à Teotihuacan, 1880
Désirée Charnay, 1828-1915
Abbot-Charnay Collection (Mss.913.72.Ab23)
Copyright American Philosophical Society
Image from APS Digital Library, The Digital Collections of
the American Philosophical Society which provides access
to a wide variety of digitized items from the holdings of the
American Philosophical Society.
WEBSITE: http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/
Ruins of the Temple of Vespasian in the Forum, Rome (Italy).
REFERENCE: Three Corinthian columns with cornice, and
portion of the entablature inscribed: “ESTITVEK” Graphite
and grey wash. One of several studies conducted in the
neighbourhood of Rome. The drawing shows the remains of
the temple before the excavation.
Attributed to Jan Asselyn, 1625-1652.
Hind, Arthur Mayger, Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish Drawings
preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the
British Museum, 4 vols, London, BMP, 1915
Registration number SL,5214.90. AN198896
© The Trustees of the British Museum. The British Museum
offer access to its data base of around 2 million objects.
WEBSITE: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research.aspx
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Carcassonne (France) before the extended reconstruction
by Eugene Viollet le Duc, a presonality still today very much
discussed and debated.
REFERENCE: Abel Hugo. France Pittoresque ou Description
pittoresque, topographique et statistique des Départements
et Colonies de la France. Tome Premier. Paris: 1835.
Book from Google Books which is a service from Google Inc.
with books and magazines scanned by Google.
WEBSITE: http://books.google.com/
The corner of State and Madison in Chicago (USA) after the
1871 fire that destroyed the city.
REFERENCE: Corner of State and Madison after the Fire,
Chicago USA, 1871
Photographer: Unknown
Chicago Historical Society (ICHi-02811)
The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical
Society.
The Encyclopedia of Chicago is a dynamic and unprecedented
metropolitan history. Thousands of historical resources-
including articles, photos, maps, broadsides and newspapers-
related to Chicago’s colorful and complex history are at your
fingertips.
WEBSITE: http://encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/
The Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet.
REFERENCE: 1900-1901 Potala Palace from SSW, Lhasa, Tibet
Autonomous Region, China.
Photgrapher: Tsybikoff, G. Ts., 1873-1930
Part of a set of 50 photographs and associated handwritten
descriptive notes, acquired from the Imperial Russian
Geographical Society in St. Petersburg. The complete notes,
“1904 View of Great Tibet”, are available.
Collection: Tibet - From the Collections of the American
Geographical Society Library. The digital collection presents
historical maps and images of Tibet from the holdings of the
American Geographical Society (AGS) Library. The collection
includes a set of early photographs of central Tibet and Lhasa
as well as images from Harrison Forman’s expeditions to
northern Tibet between 1932 and 1937.
WEBSITE: http://collections.lib.uwm.edu/
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City walls of old Constantinople, present Istanbul, Turkey. The
walls are today restored and completly reconstruted.
REFERENCE: The Theodosian Wall, Istanbul, Turkey.
Abdullah Frères. Partie des murailles de Théodose,
Constantinople. Vers 1875.
Épreuve argentique à l’albumine 24,1 x 30,4 cm
PH1981:0348:043 Collection CCA
The Canadian Center for Architecture.
The collection Collection comprises over half a million examples
that testify to the diverse ways in which architecture has been
imagined, conceived, observed, and transformed for the past
six centuries.
WEBSITE: http://www.cca.qc.ca/en
St. Petersbourg, Rusia.
REFERENCE: St. Petersbourg, L’Academie des arts [between ca.
1890 and ca. 1900].
Part of: Views of architecture and other sites primarily in
Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine.
Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color.
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsc-03877 (digital file from
original)
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. The library contains
millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and
manuscripts in its collections.
WEBSITE: http://www.loc.gov/library/libarch-digital.html
St Mary´s Abbey church in York (UK), even if already a ruin
significantly different from how it looks today.
REFERENCE: Sketch of St Mary´s Abbey church, York, UK
showing cows in the foreground and the Minster in the
background, 1883. ©York Museums Trust.
Mylerning.org is a free online resource for teachers and
learners inspired by museum, library and archive collections.
WEBSITE: http://www.mylearning.org
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Chichen Itza (Mexico), as other mesoamerican archaological
sites, is the result of extensive restoration efforts. The Castle
of Chiche Itza was excavated and reconstructed in the decades
of 1920 and 1930.
REFERENCE: La Castillo à Chichen Itza, 1860
Désirée Charnay, 1828-1915
Abbot-Charnay Collection (Mss.913.72.Ab23)
Copyright American Philosophical Society
Image from APS Digital Library, The Digital Collections of
the American Philosophical Society which provides access
to a wide variety of digitized items from the holdings of the
American Philosophical Society.
WEBSITE: http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/
Etching of Septimus Severus Arch, Roman forum (Italy), 1750
circa.
The etching depicts the roman arch and forum before the
excavation.
REFERENCE: PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista, 1720-1778
Opere varie di architetture, prospettiva, groteschi, antichita,
inventate ed incise da Giambattista Piranesi, raccolta da
Giovanni Bouchard. [Roma : s.n, 1750]. - [124] f. : toda il.; 2º (54
cm). - Tit. próprio retirado de obra de referencia. - Contém:
Prima parte di architetture e prospettive inventate ed
incise. - Antichita Romane fuori di Roma disegnate ed incise
da Giambatta Piranesi Architetto Veneziano. Parte Seconda.
- Trofei di Ottaviano Augusto innalzati per la vittoria ad
Actium e conquista dell’Egitto con vari altri ornamenti antichi
Disegnati ed incisi dal cavalier Gio. Batta Piranesi. - Biblioteca
Nacional de França - BN-Opale Plus (http://catalogue.bnf.fr/). -
Library of Congress (http://catalog.loc.gov./). - HPB Database
(http://www.cerl.org/)
From Biblioteca Geral digital database. It covers data of
different data, mainly on portuguese culture, but not only.
WEBSITE: http://almamater.uc.pt/index.asp?f=BGUCD
Qasr el Mushatta, Jordan. Now located in Berlin at the
Pergamon Museum.
REFERENCE: A_233 - Qasr el Mushatta (March 1900)
Mashetta, the gateway [Remains of gateway - with detailed
carving - to the Palace, men standing on gateway, horses in
foreground]
Newcastle University Library: The Gertrude Bell Collection.
Comprises books on Arabic and Persian languages and images
of Arabia, and the Near and Middle East which were formerly
part of Gertrude’s working library.
WEBSITE: http://www.gerty.ncl.ac.uk/
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Arch of Titus, Rome (Italy), still incoroporated in the medieval
wall.
REFERENCE: Pittura italiana sec. XVII. Roma. Bamboccianti 1.
Niccolò Codazzi, Ascanio Luciani, Franz de Paula Ferg e altri.
107039.
Anonymous. Fondazione Federico Zeri - Università di Bologna.
Image from the fototeca di Federico Zeri which includes
pictures of italian works of art.
WEBSITE: http://fe.fondazionezeri.unibo.it/catalogo/hp.jsp?de
corator=layout&apply=true
East front of the Parthenon, Athens (Greece) with mosque
inside, 1765 circa.
REFERENCE: Engraved with modifications in Stuart and
Revett’s ‘Antiquities of Athens’, Vol II, 1789, Ch 1, pl 1.
Drawn by William Pars, 1764-1766.
Department: Prints & Drawings. Mm,11.5.
From the British Museum Collection database. It includes over
two million objects from the entire Museum collection.
WEBSITE: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_
the_collection_database.aspx
The Frauenkirche of Dresden, Germany. It was destroyed
during the bombing of the city at the end of the World War II.
The church was rebuilt after the reunification of Germany by
decission of the citiziens between 2004 and 2005.
Dresden-Altstadt. Blick von der Brühlschen Terrasse über...
REFERENCE: Beschreibung: Dresden-Altstadt. Blick von der
Brühlschen Terrasse über die Ruine der Frauenkirche zum
Rathausturm
Dresden-Altstadt
Foto: Unbekannter Fotograf, 1949.09.10
Aufnahme-Nr.: df_hauptkatalog_0646551
Datensatz-Nr.: obj 87507909
Image from Deutsche Fotothek which includes works by
German photographers and it also get together maps and
architectural plans from several institutions.
WEBSITE: http://www.deutschefotothek.de/db/apsisa.dll/ete?
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Fig. 2. Hunt of the picture of the Roman Theater in Mérida, Spain,
an example of collaborative deduction. Image from DIADRASIS
Facebook.
The game had a series of devoted players who
participated in almost all the cases and some others
played occasionally with some specific cases.
Particularly interesting was the case of the Roman
Theater of Merida, in Spain, a quite diffi cult example
which became an example of collaborative deduction
with a step by step approach: typology > period >
place.
Some of the examples, like the archaeological site of
Palenque in Mexico, had many hunters participating
and giving additional details on the historical
background and restoration aspects while others,
like the case of Alhambra in Spain, announced as a
great scandal related to the restoration intervention,
awakened interest and speculation among the
participants. It was also the most popular post with
314 peeks.
The hunt was an example of the power of attraction
that images can have, but it also showed the
possibilities of the collections now available from all
around the world.
Finally, as everyday users of these repositories we
also want to specially thank the repositories included
during the Hunt:
World War II Database. http://ww2db.com/
Gallica, Bibliotèque Numérique, National Library of France.
http://gallica.bnf.fr/?lang=FR
American Geographical Society Library. http://collections.
lib.uwm.edu/
The Gertrude Bell Collection. http://www.gerty.ncl.ac.uk/
My learning.org. http://www.mylearning.org
The Canadian Center for Architecture. http://www.cca.
qc.ca/en
Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/library/libarch-
digital.html
The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical
Society. http://encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/
Fototeca di Federico Zeri. http://fe.fondazionezeri.unibo.it/
catalogo/hp.jsp?decorator=layout&apply=true
Google Books. http://books.google.com/
The Digital Collections of the American Philosophical
Society. http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/
Fototeca del Patrimonio Histórico, Instituto del Patrimonio
Cultural de España. http://www.mcu.es/fototeca_
patrimonio/search_fields.do?buscador=porCampos
Deutsche Fotothek. http://www.deutschefotothek.de/db/
apsisa.dll/ete?
British Museum Collection database. http://www.
britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_
database.aspx
Biblioteca Geral digital database. http://almamater.uc.pt/
index.asp?f=BGUCD
Repositorio de Objetos Digitales y Aprendizaje. Gobierno
de Extremadura. Spain. http://194.179.111.11:8070/roda/
gsearch.action
Mesoweb. http://www.mesoweb.com/
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