Jersey has its first Historic Environment Record (HER) – an essential tool for researching heritage in the Island and managing its future.
The ‘Historic Environment Record for Jersey’ was launched today (18th) by Jersey Heritage and brings together a wealth of information about the Island’s historic buildings and archaeology – much of it online for the first time.
The comprehensive database is free to use and can be found at her.jerseyheritage.org It includes everything from historic buildings and maps, to archaeological sites and finds, and provides a major research tool for members of the public, commercial operations and academics alike, allowing people to carry out searches in different ways.
The HER for Jersey, which cost about £100,000 to create, is the culmination of three years of work led by Roger Hills, Jersey Heritage’s Head of Historic Buildings, who has been working with consultant project manager Dr Peter Chowne, an archaeologist and Research Associate at the University of York.
Roger explained that although some information about the Island’s historic environment was already available to the public through individual resources and archives, there had never been a single database that pulled together all of the information in one place. He said: “The HER for Jersey showcases the Island’s rich diversity of historical sites, finds and features, historic buildings and landscapes, as well as battlefield sites and local folklore. It is packed full of information and has taken a long time to piece together. We are very grateful to all the groups who have contributed, such as the Société Jersiaise, and we are excited about making the HER available for the public to use.
“In the UK, there is a national network of local HERs, which is used as a primary source for research. Until now, Jersey has never had such a resource. The HER for Jersey gives the public a wealth of information at their fingertips and we hope it will prove fascinating to people, whether they would like to know more about a site near their home or are researching an in-depth project.”
The HER for Jersey was built using Arches, an open-source data-management platform created to inventory cultural heritage places. Developed by the Getty Conservation Institute in partnership with World Monuments Funds, it employs international standards for cultural heritage information. It is freely available to cultural heritage organisations worldwide to implement however they wish.
Dr Chowne, who has worked on a number of archaeological and heritage management projects around the world, said the HER for Jersey was a significant addition to the Island’s historic environment resources. He said: “The implementation of a publicly accessible Historic Environment Record by Jersey Heritage is a magnificent achievement. It will be of great benefit to researchers at all levels, both locally and worldwide. Jersey Heritage are to be congratulated on having the foresight to use the open source Arches platform, which places Jersey at the forefront of historic environment inventory development internationally.”
In addition to being available to use online without charge, the HER for Jersey can also be accessed at Jersey Archive, where it is managed and updated. A charge will be made for any additional work involving Archive staff, such as additional search requirements.
There is a user guide on the database’s homepage, as well as five video guides explaining how to search the HER; access the reports; use the mapping; look at finds; and use the explored saved searches.