Mediated heritage refers to heritage, whether natural or cultural, tangible or intangible, which is selected, cared for and interpreted (curated) by designated experts within authorised heritage institutions (AHI). These may include memory institutions such as museums, archives and libraries, and are normally associated with the state. Thus, AHI or their experts act as mediators between the designated heritage and those for whom it is preserved. AHI can employ both analogue and digital methods to mediate heritage. The use of new media technology in the curation and wide dissemination of heritage previously held in traditional or analogue form has led to the coining of the term ‘remediated heritage’.

Conversely, unmediated heritage is understood as heritage curated by individuals or groups of individuals (communities) not attached to authorised heritage institutions. Implicit in the idea of unmediated heritage is a notion of more democratic practices of designation and utilisation of such heritage, especially through new media technology.