The Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, CULTNAT, was established in January 2000, as a project operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. By presidential decree, CULTNAT became, in February 2003, a Center affiliated with Bibliotheca Alexandrina and supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, thus asserting its identity and gaining physical status.
Despite the fact that CULTNAT is a relatively new center, it already has a variety of ongoing programs, in addition to a vast network of cooperation with national and international organizations that are concerned with heritage. These programs, which cover many different aspects of the Egyptian cultural and natural heritage, seek to document the tangible and the intangible, i.e. archaeology, architecture, manuscripts, music, folklore, caricature, plastic arts, natural resources, among others.
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.
While applying new technologies to documentation, massive amounts of data are digitally compiled and sorted, facilitating accessibility to data. CD-ROMs, as well as books, guides and other paper publications, are extracted from this huge database. For greater diffusion, CULTNAT is making information accessible through its website at: http://www.cultnat.org
This Center has, among its targets, the following objectives:
- Documentation of the Egyptian cultural heritage in both its tangible and intangible aspects.
- Documentation of the Egyptian natural heritage, which includes the natural reserves as well as the natural areas not yet inscribed under environmental protection.
- Implementation of a national plan to execute this documentation program using the latest information technology in collaboration with national and international specialized organizations.
- Building awareness of this heritage using all available publishing media, whether electronic or physical.
- Training of professionals in the field of preservation and documentation of cultural and natural heritage.