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higher than expected take-up of 3D applications as well as a very strong interest in future
uses.There is widespread recognition that 3D visualisations enable learning and open up
learning to wider social groups. Many European museums with archaeological collections
already use 3D and they have found a place in cultural scholarship as well. In TWR1 and
subsequently in Issues 4, 5, and 6 of the DigiCULT.Info Newsletter we examined Virtual
Reality technologies. Virtual Reality (VR) applications can be used to allow the general
public to visualise the past in ways that are not feasible with conventional presentations.
In theatre studies (e.g. the THEATRON Project) and archaeological reconstructions of
completely or partially destroyed structures (e.g.The Roman bath complex at Bath) VR
technology has been used to great effect. As it becomes more accessible, it offers great
potential for visualisation of heritage sites, landscapes, and buildings.These visualisations
permit the user to "move" through the environment and see it from various angles.VR
can bring to life data which are otherwise difficult to put into context.When combined
with avatar technologies and mobile devices the power of Virtual Reality becomes more
potent.The models become immersive, interactive and involving.
Standards play a key role in the interoperability of resources and in their long term
viability. As well as changing the ways in which Web content is arranged and delivered,
XML has revolutionised the ways in which organisations store and transfer their internal
communications. XML offers a new way of approaching content structuring and reuse.
In isolation, an XML file does very little, but it is through the combination of XML with
dedicated `helper' utilities that its power can be harnessed. Content can be stored centrally
in one format, presented as XML, and repurposed/delivered as an organisation's various
needs dictate; on the Web, to mobile devices, or to other applications for processing.
XML scales well, and early XML documents can easily be ported into cutting-edge
applications and display systems. XML representation can be enhanced over time and
enable the reuse and repurposing of content. This is an exceptionally broad topic and
we do not aim to provide a broad and detailed overview.The provenance and essentials
of XML are outlined in brief, and then related technologies that are likely to be of the
most relevance to the cultural heritage community are described.The bulk of this section
is devoted to accounts of XML deployment in this sector, featuring case studies on the
Pouce and COVAX projects, to name but two.There are numerous standards based on
XML specially designed for use in the Cultural Heritage sector such as EAD (Encoded
Archival Description) for use in managing information about archival materials, and in
DigiCULT.Info issue 3 the CIMI XML Schema for SPECTRUM that enables museums
to encode descriptive information concerning objects in their care was introduced.
In the October 2003 issue of the DigiCULT.Info Newsletter we noted a poster covering
a museum under renovation in Museumsinsel (Berlin), one of the finest museum complexes
in the world. In the words Weltkultur beflügelt (world culture gives wings) it asks all who
pass to consider the liberating power of the cultural heritage.TWR2 and the other
DigiCULT products aim to show the power of new technologies in helping cultural
heritage institutions in achieving their objective of improving the care, understanding
and benefits of cultural heritage to individuals and society. Technology is a tool to enable
access, preservation, and use and understanding of the heritage. It is not an end in itself.
Introduction
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