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examines the development of a virtual community in the puppetry domain.The VRoma
project provides a multi-user networked environment built upon the spatial and cultural
metaphor of ancient Rome to support sharing of resources and learning. eMarCon
demonstrates the potential of the technology for creating virtual exhibitions that represent
collaborations of institutions and experiences for visitors. Sharing knowledge is a central
objective of these newer online social spaces and the MIRROR project has shown how
this could be done in the context of natural science museums, in conjunction with pro-
viding a learning space.The scenarios that complement the case studies demonstrate the
ways in which these technologies can foster communication and collaborative practices
based on evidence from other domains.The pervasive nature of the technologies and the
ease with which it can be deployed make it actually quite low cost.
Case Studies
eStage
287
eStage, an experimental project which ran for twelve months with a budget of
164,000,
aimed to provide a puppetry portal. eStage encourages participants to contribute to the
creation of a cross-language and cross-cultural Internet stage for puppetry. It began its
work by testing the feasibility of establishing a new information service for puppetry
based on the technology created by an earlier EC-funded RTD project, IRAIA.
288
The eStage consortium consisted of LemonLabs (Munich), the IRIT Lab (Toulouse)
and DIW.
289
DIW, the German Institute for Economic Research, had co-ordinated IRAIA, a
service provider platform designed, in particular, for large and complex information
spaces.
290
The key element of the IRAIA system that was of value to eStage is the system's
capability to lead the user in a small number of steps to a concise but comprehensive
Collaborative Mechanisms
and Technologies
157
eStage
The eStage search facility
287 This case study is based on the answers to an email questionnaire completed by Kurt Englmeier of LemonLabs
GmbH
in July 2003, and on material available from the eStage Web site, http://www.epuppetry.com/.
288 IRAIA - Getting Orientation in Complex Information Spaces as an Emergent Behaviour of Autonomous
Information Agents (IST-1999-10602). Further information on the project is available at
http://inf2.pira.co.uk/mmctprojects/iraia.htm.
289 Initially, eStage had another partner, Germany's Waidspeicher puppet theatre. Unfortunately Waidspeicher
had to withdraw from the project soon after the project start-up because of difficulties in recruiting the
necessary personnel, leaving eStage without a partner who could offer an in-depth knowledge of puppetry.
290 The test data used for IRAIA's first application area came from national statistical and economic research
institutions, typically constituting large and complex datasets.
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