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nologies claim to ensure such interoper-
ability (e.g. CORBA), but recent devel-
opments in Web Services seemed to the
MIRROR team to offer the most con-
vincing and suitable solution for their
system. A complete, platform-independ-
ent Web Services framework is based on
the HTTP protocol and XML specifica-
tions, and also enables definition of the
interfaces (using WSDL) that are easily
used by other platforms, thus encapsulat-
ing the business logic behind them.This was one of the most important requirements for
the system.
Some of the subsystems, notably DeepMatrix, are already in use and very well proven
in other projects, so these were adopted and extended for the needs of MIRROR. Some
upper layer subsystems (such as Exhibition Management and Conference Management)
were implemented using Struts
311
, which implements an advanced Model-View-
Controller (MVC) pattern.This is a proven framework that encapsulates different parts of
the Web applications (model, view and control), thus enabling separation and assignment
of different tasks to the experts. It also provides advanced tools for session management
in combination with the view component (JSP, custom tag libraries, resource files and so
on).
The main theoretical impetus behind the project was to explore the `mirroring' of the
learning interactions of individuals within communities of practice through the applica-
tion of new technology.The specific context explored within the project is that of natu-
ral history museums, and in order to provide sufficient focus for the size and duration
of the project specifically those exhibition teams and communities engaged in the pro-
duction of collaborative exhibitions. Social theories of learning view it as a social activity,
inasmuch as people learn through their participation in a number of communities.
Communities of practice tend to be relatively coherent groups which share common
endeavours, whose members may work, live or share leisure time together, and who
derive a sense of meaning and learning in the world from their membership of the com-
munity.
MIRROR constitutes a multi-disciplinary approach to the concept of knowledge
management. Its main short-term goal has been to combine the strength of recent tech-
nological advances with the sound theoretical infrastructure of pedagogical and learning
disciplines, in order to create a powerful and worthwhile system. It is apparent that this
attempt led to the formation of a consortium that is essentially based on complementary
expertise, know-how, and scientific backgrounds. Future additions to the project will
bring it towards a fuller system of information and means of communication, such as on-
line encyclopaedias and other reference tools.
Collaborative Mechanisms
and Technologies
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311 http://jakarta.apache.org/struts
Mirr
or
MIRROR 3D exhibition collaboration mode
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