The Belgian Art Links and Tools (BALaT) is the continuously expanding online documentary platform of KIK-IRPA. Today, BALaT contains up to – and still growing – 750.000 images of KIK-IRPA’s unique collection of photo negatives, the library catalogue, PDF’s of articles form KIK-IRPA’s Bulletin and other publications, an extensive persons and institutions authority list, and several specialised thematic websites. All these are interlinked to give the user easy access to freely available information on the Belgian cultural heritage. These cultural heritage objects are extensively described in BALaT using well selected thesauri, which are also being mapped with the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) of the Getty Institute and other available sources. BALaT is further interlinked with national platforms (e.g. Erfgoedplus) as well with international ones (e.g. Europeana).

KIK-IRPA, through successive Belspo actions “Additional Researchers” has been working on a detailed and inclusive data management plan. Heritage Science Data Archive (HESCIDA) aims, through this data management plan, to upgrade BALaT to BALaT +, enabling access to searchable registries of KIK-IRPA datasets and data interoperability. HESCIDA will further extend the scope of data through the integration of data from KBR and KMKG-MRAH aiming to be the central digital resource for heritage science at the federal level (E-RIHS.be). According to the developments and the strategy within E-RIHS PP, the integration of data sets from the Royal Institute of Natural Science and Royal Museum of Central Africa, at a later stage of the project, can be foreseen as well as those of Belgian universities. BALaT+ will be the first and exemplary building block for DIGILAB at the level of E-RIHS.eu.

HESCIDA will take into account interoperability of systems and physical instruments and every aspect of data storage, crucial for E-RIHS DIGILAB. Traceability of data and accountability of data providers will be addressed in order to build trusted and innovative Open Science Data repositories and registries, hereby ensuring data formats and standards that enable reuse in different scientific contexts. HESCIDA will contribute to the promotion of the reuse of information, such as raw data, metadata, algorithms and their applications, to foster replicability. As regards to data curation and long-term preservation, we will consider compliance with the CoreTrustSeal Data Repository requirements, in order to obtain the quality certification for our repositories.