CULTNAT, Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage is one of the research centers of the academic research sector at Bibliotheca Alexandrina
For more than fifteen years, CULTNAT has been building databases that cover the diverse fields of Egypt’s huge heritage, gathering massive amounts of data, applying and creating advanced technology, and employing qualified human resources. CULTNAT’s multilingual databases, a huge repository of heritage information, are reinforced by 2D and 3D high quality images. This wealth of knowledge is disseminated through different channels which include the patented panoramic interactive display system, CULTURAMA, together with books, multimedia applications, documentary movies, websites, virtual reality, augmented reality, mobile applications, and GIS applications.
The scope of CULTNAT’s work encompasses Egyptian cultural and natural heritage. The former, with all its facets, whether tangible or intangible. Many CULTNAT projects are dedicated to documenting the tangible heritage, starting with the Archeological map of Egypt that employs multimedia in conjunction with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technologies to produce a powerful documentation and management tool for ancient Egyptian archeological sites. Information about the museum artifacts is included in a website pertaining to the center such as the award winning website Eternal Egypt and the Global Egyptian Museum. The intangible heritage includes the arts and folklore. There are projects that document these variations based on place like the Nubian heritage and the Siwa heritage. Others that document aspects of art include the Stars of Music in the Arab World.
Egypt is endowed with a wealth of natural heritage, an enormous variety of species. We have had several projects documenting the flora and fauna of Egypt. Currently, CULTNAT is cooperating with the Ministry of Agriculture to document Egypt’s wealth of Botanical Gardens, the collections of the Ancient Egyptian Agricultural Museum and horse breeds in Egypt, in addition to upgrading the technological capacity of the Botanical Gardens. A Geographical Information System has been built for the gardens.
CULTNAT has not only developed action plans to electronically document Egyptian heritage but also contributes to safeguarding fragile treasures of Egyptian history through their digitization. Among these are the manuscripts of the National Archives; the stamps of the National Postage Organization, and the archives of El-Maktab El-Araby.
Recently, CULTNAT began working in the field of technology for Museums; how virtual reality models can be used for museum display. The first prototype was shown in the exhibition “Keys To Rome”, held in the BA.
CULTNAT always keeps a strategic alliance with the following government organizations: Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Ministry of Antiquities, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Environment, and Ministry of Agriculture to document the various aspects of Egyptian Heritage, moreover there are partnerships with various national, regional, and international organizations.
CULTNAT reinforces capacity building for professionals in the fields of documentation of cultural and natural heritage in implementing its projects. It also seeks to increase public awareness by using all available media.