Heritage Stewardship: ArThemis, the open-access cultural property restitution database; First Release of Getty’s New Research Collections Viewer Offers Digital Access to Vast Archives

Heritage Stewardship

ArThemis, the open-access cultural property restitution database
UNESCO 01/09/2020
ArThemis is a fully searchable database containing case notes about disputes over the return and restitution of cultural property. The case notes focus on the settlement of disputes through alternative dispute resolution methods (ADR) but also examine judicial decisions. The case notes are accompanied by pertinent documents, including judgments, published agreements, pictures, etc.

With its wish to provide innovative methods and multiple solutions for the restitution of cultural property, UNESCO in association with the University of Geneva, makes the ArThemis database available to all. It contains cases resolved by judicial means or alternative dispute resolution methods, in addition to a wide range of research possibilities such as the type of object sought, the chronological context, or the issue as it pertains to law.

An open access-tool, ArThemis allows everyone involved, from legal practitioners to researchers and academics, to have a point of reference on all dispute resolution methods.

A valuable tool, ArThemis provides detailed cases resolved by judicial decision, which demonstrates judges’ awareness in matters of art law and the restitution of cultural property. These files also reveal the limits of judicial decisions and provide an overview of how courts resolve procedural and substantive issues. ArThemis also contains information relating to alternative methods that have enabled the return of goods.

ArThemis prefers a pragmatic approach taking into account the origin of cultural goods and the ethical, historical, cultural, financial and legal interests involved. It brings an innovative angle to the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural goods.

You can consult the ArThemis database here.
Another relevant database, UNESCO Database of National Cultural Laws, is also available here.


First Release of Getty’s New Research Collections Viewer Offers Digital Access to Vast Archives
A new online tool invites you to browse thousands of photographs and artists’ letters, with more to come
Getty Conservation Institute Nathaniel Deines | September 2, 2020

Now online in its initial release, the Research Collections Viewer offers a visual way to browse and search Getty’s archival collections. The Viewer aims to make it easier to see what we have in our research collections—rare primary source material such as artists’ papers, prints, and photographs—as well as contextual information such as related works by the same artist.

At Getty we’ve been digitizing archives on a major scale since 1997 (see this guide to early photography of the Mediterranean for one of our first forays), yet digital images and finding aids have always existed in separate systems, connected only through a carefully managed set of links…\In addition to connecting the finding aids with the digitized materials, the Research Collections Viewer connects archival materials themselves together by leveraging Linked Open Data standards. Using the “Related Material” section, you can explore archives intuitively, investigating relationships between people, places, dates, and ideas.
For its initial launch, the Research Collections Viewer features access to information and many images from the correspondence of artist Sylvia Sleigh and critic Lawrence Alloway and from the Los Angeles photographs of artist Ed Ruscha. We chose these archives because they presented unique challenges that will inform how we present other large and complex collections going forward.