Cultural Heritage Information Management Degrees

The Cultural Heritage Information Management course of study prepares students for careers in the management of primary sources materials for museums, archives, and library special collections.

The program supports emerging and traditional practices managing born-digital resources and hidden collections for greater access to and preservation of collections in the modern digital information environments.

Students with a passion for cultural heritage in all forms, such as art objects, archives, manuscripts, rare books, and types of digital information, are front runners in making heritage accessible and in the preservation of it for future generations.

What Can You Do With a Cultural Heritage Information Management Degree?

CHIM offers a set of tools to help understand, inventory, and document national and regional properties. The management system assists heritage site managers, stakeholders, and State Parties involved in the conversation and management of cultural heritage by mining, sharing, and the exchange of information from multiple sources that are based on international standards.

The aim is to visualize, analyze, record, manage, and disseminate heritage information. It is a holistic approach for recording, documenting, protecting, and monitoring tasks that are part of the management process. Information is verified regarding quality and consistency and ready for monitoring, managing, and periodic reporting processes.

What is the Cultural Heritage Information Management Program Area?

The 21st-century challenges and expansion of worldwide heritage tourism have increased the need for forward-thinking preservation and management strategies. Cultural Heritage Information Management programs focus on the impact of emergent technology on engagement, preservation, and conservation, along with integrated approaches to management and stakeholder partnerships and communities.

Cultural heritage management aims to strike a balance between generating revenue and developing the tourism industry while celebrating and promoting the cultural, historical, and educational values and conserving the sites' physical integrity.

What Do Students Learn?

Students gain a solid foundation in the collection, preservation, and exhibition of cultural heritage in physical and digital form. They apply what is learned through practical engagement activities and internships in a broad spectrum of cultural heritage institutions.

A variety of courses focus on Cultural Heritage Information Management. Students take required core courses plus specialized courses that are highly recommended based on their interests, such as art and museum librarianship, rare books and special collections, or a career as an archivist.

As an example, those interested in professional digital archives are recommended to take web programming and data processing courses.

Are There Online Programs

There are programs available online that offer the expertise of heritage management professionals and highly regarded professors from around the world. Students have access to global resources and virtual field trips brought about in exciting and new ways. An international study body provides diverse experiences and prospective in a dynamic online environment.

An interdisciplinary approach emphasizes a curriculum that allows students to customize their studies for their unique trajectory and career goals. There is a wide range of available courses. Students have some voice in both the required courses and electives. Some programs do have on-site seminars in an international or national location that is arranged by the program. Most classes are asynchronous learning experiences that allow maximum flexibility for scheduling.

The Internet’s full potential is used in the web-based learning format. The most up-to-date, web-based tools for community building, conferencing, collaboration, and design are used to enhance the program. Class sizes are small to encourage active community and engagement among faculty and students. The international focus and concern and interdisciplinary nature lend themselves to the online format where international and domestic students have the opportunity to learn together.

Sample Universities with this Online Program

John Hopkins University offers an online Master of Art in Cultural Heritage Management. The program immerses students in the context of cultural heritage issues that include economic, environmental, and social trends, and provide the needed qualifications to assume management and leadership roles in the sector of cultural heritage. The program trains leaders to embrace our shared heritage and humanity to advance its management, preservation, documentation, and interpretation for the betterment of the world.

The University of Maryland has graduate programs in Cultural and Heritage Resource Management that feature online instruction. The programs offer accessibility and flexibility that fits students’ professional and personal responsibilities. Online content is delivered through web-based technology that is easy to use. It enables learning in an interactive, engaging environment. Course lectures use advanced video and audio technology. Through the use of headsets with microphones and webcams, students attend real-time lectures. Slides, lectures, and question and answer interactions are video-archived for those who are unable to participation in the lectures and for review. Instruction is provided by Cultural History Resource Management specialists, practicing professional archeologists, and Department of Anthropology faculty.

Typical Coursework for this Degree

Highly recommended courses for Cultural Heritage Information Management include:

Foundation of Digital Libraries – The course addresses technical, practical, and conceptual approaches, problems, and issues of digital libraries. It offers a comprehensive digital libraries overview that begins with issues of evaluation, management, and design of digital libraries, such as usability, access, and user interfaces, digital library applications, metadata, digitization, collection development, and project management. The research literature addresses the development and evaluation of digital libraries. Building a digital library provides the practical experience to develop useful skills needed to deal with real-life digital library project issues.

Fundamentals of Meta Theory and Practice – Metadata is critical to access, manage, and exchange electronic resources. The course introduces students to the basic principles and theories of metadata creation and design using RDF, XML, and ER modeling. It reviews major metadata schemas, ontologies, and conceptual frameworks used in libraries, digital repositories, museums, and archives. Real-life collections and scenarios are used to gain an understanding of the issues and highlight related to metadata aggregation, creation, and reuse.

Museum Informatics – The course introduces students to the study of socio-technical interactions that occur between technology, information, and people in cultural heritage organizations, such as museums. Students explore information technology’s changing nature in museums, and examine the impact of technical innovation on the social worlds of museum visitors, museum professionals, and museums.

Advanced Web Applications – The course aims to discuss, explore, and research emerging technologies in web application development. It emphasizes exposure to recent technologies and standards related to the web. The course provides hands-on discussion and experience of practical implications of the emerging fields.

Cataloging and Classification – This course teaches the application of rules and standards to the construction of catalogs in information and library environments using MARC and RDA. Topics include a choice of information packages descriptive detail, form, and choice of entering titles authority control, and formatting and tagging data for computer data input. Comparison, analysis, and use of Library of Congress Subject Headings, Library of Congress Classification, and Dewey Decimal Classification, provision of subject headings authority control, and formatting and tagging classification and subject information for computer input are other topics included.

Specific Scholarships

Archaeological Institute of America
Offers the Jordanian Graduate Student Scholarship for $3000 to four Jordanian students who are enrolled in a Jordanian university. They must pursue degrees related to the cultural heritage of Jordan, such as cultural resource management, museum studies, conservation, history, linguistics/epigraphy, anthropology, and archeology.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Through the Higher Education and Scholarship in Humanities program, the foundation assists research institutes, universities, and colleges. Institutions include Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, liberal arts colleges, and research institutions. The foundation helps train scholars and produces scholarship in the humanities that foster practices of inclusion and diversity and promote the humanities social value, respond to technological, financial, and demographic challenges that affect higher education, and expand support and access to degree completion.

Top Organizations to Know

These organizations work to protect and advocate on behalf of cultural heritage and its issues.

  • U.S.Committee of the Blue Shield
  • UNESCO World Heritage Center
  • ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives
  • Archaeological Institute of America
  • Society of American Archaeology
  • SAFE (Saving Antiquities for Everyone)
  • Association for the Protection of Afghan Archaeology
  • United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs – Cultural Heritage Center
  • Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

Career Options for this Degree

Cultural resource management involves architecture, history, archaeology, historic preservation, and related fields specialists. Professionals in the field are employed by private companies and government agencies to protect cultural sites in compliance with federal law. The varied nature of the field makes cultural resource management job options vary in employment statistics and salary. Possible careers include:

  • Archaeologist
  • Curator, Museum Technician and Conservator
  • Historian