(Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of the Republic of Serbia)
The history of the introduction of modern data storage and processing methods at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments can be assessed through attempts made during the past ten years, while these attempts themselves reveal the needs and problems facing a monument protection service, whose solution is still forthcoming. The first database was formed as early as 1990, containing basic information for some 800 monuments. By the end of 1993, a proposal was made for a Monument Information System, while during the next few years there followed proposals for an Electronic Documentation Center, which foresaw documentation archiving in order to enable quick data retrieval and the forming of a database describing the condition of and protection measures for immobile cultural properties, which could be updated over the Internet.
During the past decade, piecemeal and voluntary individual efforts, overcast by lack of understanding and support from the management, appear as a main characteristic of these attempts to introduce modern methods of storing and processing data at the Institute and monument protection service. The existing state of affairs will be overcome only when professionals are employed to perform these tasks, work on document scanning and archiving in the database is continued, and a unique system is set up. Establishing this Protection Service Information System would aid conservators in their work, while national heritage and the work of the protection service could be better presented and brought closer to a much wider section of the public.