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DigiCULT
.
Info
26
sentation related activities, and is
characterised by the following features
4
:
- Input of multimedia digital objects,
including text, images, audio, video.
- Organising, composing, and integration
of the XML-based multimedia exhibi-
tion element documents.
- Management of the XSL documents
for presentation.
- Definition and management of user
profiles.
- Management of the document presen-
tations according to user needs and
profiles.
Our main objective is to define a
general distributed software architecture
through which it might be possible to
access and share multimedia resources,
which would be spread among different
servers.
From the user's point of view, there
should not be much change in the way
in which the resources are to be acces-
sed, which means that whether there are
one or several servers should be transpa-
rent to the user.
As will become evident, adopting a
distributed framework, as opposed to the
classical view of a centralised database,
induces several specific problems for
which we are trying to provide some
plausible answers. Among these, it is
necessary to deal specifically with the
problem of broadcasting queries to diffe-
rent servers and conversely combining
modify the information content at a later
stage. If an online exhibition uses mainly
HTML-based Web pages, the resulting
pages are relatively easy to compose, but
they are also tied up with the visual art
design and are thus difficult for the con-
tent provider alone to modify.
Furthermore, once the information con-
tent grows to a significant amount, the
`hyperlinks' between associated exhibi-
tions' Web pages are difficult to track and
maintain.
The second problem with the hand-
crafted online exhibition approach is that
the content can only be presented to the
user in a fixed presentation style. Since
Web users may have different multimedia
and bandwidth capacities, it is difficult to
design a one-size-fits-all exhibition. In
the literature, while large and coordina-
ted efforts have focused on standardising
media formats, providing shared access to
museum databases, and developing search
mechanisms for data retrieval, little
emphasis is placed on designing mecha-
nisms for turning the digitised museum
collection into educational experiences
for users. Our goal is to design an opti-
mal solution for building online digital
museum exhibitions.
A DISTRIBUTED CONTENT
MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK FOR
DIGITAL MUSEUMS
The digital museum management system
supports the efficient execution of the
essential activities related to the admini-
strative and documents organisation/pre-
I
NTRODUCTION
A digital museum designer implements
virtual exhibitions using digital images,
Web pages, animation, video clips, and
other multimedia devices. Although there
are no space and related limitations in
the cyberworld, there are other factors
that a digital designer needs to consider.
For instance, the bandwidth that is avail-
able to different users can vary tremen-
dously. Attention span is another factor.
While an adult may be willing to go
through long explanations in text, a child
may prefer graphic-intensive slideshows.
Furthermore, the sophistication of users
should also be considered. An expert and
a novice will clearly expect different
experiences when browsing through a
digital museum. With the flexibility allo-
wed to the digital form of media presen-
tation, a digital museum should try to
accommodate as many different user
needs as possible. And a user, when brow-
sing through an exhibition, can simply
click and choose the style most suitable.
While most people might agree that
such a multi-style exhibition scheme for
different users is desirable, there are not
many such exhibitions on the Web today.
The reason is that, using current techni-
ques, each style of the same exhibition
needs to be constructed separately. For
online exhibitions involving video,
animation or SMIL
3
-based shows, the
realisation of an exhibition scenario usu-
ally requires tedious multimedia compo-
sing, and is thereby very time-consu-
ming. It is also quite cumbersome to
B
Y
S
AMUEL
C
RUZ
-L
ARA
1
, L
ORIA
/ I
NRIA
L
ORAINE
, F
RANCE
, J
EN
-S
HIN
H
ONG
2
/ N
ATIONAL
C
HI
N
AN
U
NIVERSITY
, T
AIWAN
A D
ISTRIBUTED
F
RAMEWORK FOR
D
IGITAL
M
USEUM
E
XHIBITIONS
1samuel.cruz-lara@loria.fr
2jshong@csie.ncnu.edu.tw
3http://www.w3.org/AudioVideo
4The effectiveness of such a system has been amply
demonstrated in the "Lanyu Digital Museum" project
(National Chi Nan University).