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12 DigiCULT
Some examples include:
| The AquaBrowser technology developed by
Medialab Solutions,
31
which is being used by
the Dutch Digital Heritage Association's
Cultuurwijzer (Net Guide to Culture) Website
for its `freestyle surfing' Cultuurgrazer search
function.
32
The technology dynamically generates
clouds of associations (e.g. Rembrandt museum
paint) and result lists. A result list contains the
documents that are closest to both the user's query
and the cloud of suggested associations. The latter
can be used to explore and find more relevant
resources along different routes.
| Automatically generated thematic `trails' through
collections such as those offered by Picture
Australia
33
, or theme generator tools, such as
the HyperMuseum prototype.
34
| Dynamic generation of timelines, chronolo-
gies, maps, and other contextualisation: e.g.
the Metropolitan Museum of Art's `Timeline of
Art History'
35
; or the Electronic Cultural Atlas
Initiative (ECAI) projects, which use TimeMap
software developed at the University of Sydney.
36
Ideally, such applications would allow for demons-
trating relationships between events or objects, and
accessing deeper layers of information.
31
Medialab Solutions:
Overview of AquaBrowser
technology, http://www.
medialab.nl/index.
asp?page=about/technology
32
See: http://www.
cultuurwijzer.nl;
http://den.medialab.nl and
http://erfgoed.medialab.nl.
Note that the latter Website
allows for AquaBrowser,
thesaurus-based as well as
keyword-based searching.
33
Picture Australia: http://
www.pictureaustralia.
org/trails.html
34
Stuer, P., Meersman,
R. and De Bruyne, S.:
The HyperMuseum
Theme Generator System:
Ontology-based Internet
Support for the Active
Use of Digital Museum
Data for Teaching and
Presentation. In: Museums
and the Web 2001,
http://www.archimuse.
com/mw2001/papers/
stuer/stuer.html
35
http://www.metmu
seum.org/toah/splash.htm
36
ECAI: http://www.
ecai.org; TimeMap project:
http://acl.arts.usyd.edu.
au/research/time_map/
37
Cf. European
Commission: The
DigiCULT Report.
Technological landscapes for
tomorrow's cultural economy.
Full Report. January 2002
(chapter IX.6 `New tools
in the box'), available for
download at http://www.
digicult.info/pages/
report.php
S
UMMARY
W
e started off with the OCLC Environmen-
tal Scan report's picture of a dreary future in
which Google and other powerful search engines
would `disintermediate' heritage institutions in their
role as high quality and authoritative information
service providers. We found that the institutions
should not fear and try to compete with such wide-
ly used search engines. Rather, they need to raise the
public awareness and visibility of their resources more
strongly, and work hard to support their academic
and educational user groups, at the level of their
expectations of information access and use. Otherwise
the institutions' investment in creating digital col-
lections, rich descriptive metadata, learning resourc-
es, and a broad range of information services will not
lead to a high return on investment in terms of
interest and appreciation, discovery and valuable uses
of heritage resources.
Overall, heritage institutions and networks have
already achieved a lot in terms of Web-based disclo-
sure and discovery of their information resources.
However, as stated in the DigiCULT Report, `discovery
is the beginning, not the end'.
37
The institutions and
networks will need to invest an extra effort in state-
of-the-art environments, workbenches and tools for
their core user groups, to allow for valuable uses of
the discovered information resources by scholars, uni-
versity and school teachers, schoolchildren and stu-
dents, and interested lifelong learners.