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DigiCULT 45
operability is resolved. Intelligence needs very large
background knowledge.' Regarding virtual reality
(VR) and visual knowledge rendering, Doerr foresaw
that in about 10 years these would replace partially
verbal communication and training. This was because
`VR systems could effectively connect to knowledge
bases and allow for exploration of alternative inter-
pretations and hypothesis building'. However, in order
for this to happen a much deeper understanding of
scientific discourse and cognitive studies on the proc-
esses of non-verbal thinking would be needed. Fur-
thermore, the ergonomy of handling visual interfaces
should receive more attention.
In particular, Doerr warned: `If the nature and
structure of the discourse in humanities is not under-
stood, we continue to produce computer games. The
humanities sector must understand the challenges and
be involved in new models of gaining scientific mer-
its.' The rationale for this is that if future user portals
and various virtual reality systems should become real
mediators of rich cultural knowledge, a major change
in Arts & Humanities knowledge markets would need
to happen. Rich knowledge able to describe, explain
and interpret cultural heritage with reference to his-
torically different contexts and discourses, may nev-
er be mediated by `intelligent machines'. Therefore,
scholars would need to be involved on a scale and to
a degree never seen before. This would challenge the
established internal mechanisms of how scholars cre-
ate and receive recognition for their contributions to
the disciplinary stock of knowledge.
Paul Mulholland (The Open University, UK)
thought that a `better use of narrative in the person-
alised presentation of digital heritage resources' could
be achieved, depending in part on enhancements in
the `modelling and inference of user behaviour when
exploring physical and virtual exhibitions'. Mulhol-
land also expected more use of augmented reality
(AR) and mixed media for learning and entertain-
ment. But, for educational applications better tools
and guidelines for using such technologies would be
required. Overall, novel approaches in user modelling,
inference from user behaviour, and adaptive hyper-
media and AR applications that provide an engaging
coherent experience he saw as research strands that
would extend well over a period of 15 to 20 years.
Fabrizio Cardinali, Fabrizio Giorgini and Dav-
id Fuschi (Giunti Labs, Italy) added that collabo-
rative virtual museums where students and experts
could interact through their avatars might be achieved
before 2010. For the educational deployment of AR
applications with head-mounted glasses (HMG) and
similar devices, appropriate models would need to be
developed and validated, to allow for meaningful uses
which they expected to appear around 2010.
Interestingly, few other participants mentioned
novel interfaces and interaction devices. For exam-
ple, Sofia Pescarin (Fellowship researcher, CNR ITA-
BC, Italy) thought that novel 3D interactive interfaces
would allow more direct access to complex and mul-
timedia information, and that the use of gesture inter-
action systems should be explored much further.
However, she saw a lack of cooperation among labo-
ratories working in the related fields of research.
Jacques Bogaarts (Nationaal Archief, The Neth-
erlands) envisaged completely new geographies of
`cyberspace' on the Web in which relationships
between objects show themselves `naturally'. Building
such a future digital heritage space `that is as excit-
ing as a visit to Jurassic Park' could only be achieved
within large creative cooperations. Basic requirements
would be a not primarily technology-driven model-
ling of Web content, huge amounts of digital resources
with high-quality metadata, and interfaces to interact
more directly with the content.
On the DigiCULT online consultation platform,
introducing the theme of `natural & enjoyable inter-
action', large repositories of intelligent digital heritage
resources were mentioned. In an interesting note a
participant from a university-based research lab asked:
`Why the emphasis on large collections? It would be
more helpful to think of myriads of small collections
and how these can be aggregated and re-aggregated
according to the needs of the user.'
Jussi Karlgren (SICS, Sweden) requested more
and better informed information access research that
would lead to `flexible tools for the identification of
informational items and topical structure in docu-
ments', which were missing for text as well as other
media types. Strong analysis tools should be able to
`really model topic, style, foreground and background,
usefulness etc., rather than the presence or absence
of surface features in the information items (this line
of research is proceeding apace)'. However, he men-
tioned that relevant research in this direction `is going
on at the research frontiers of HCI and IR at present
the next few years should show some disjointed
publications and some exciting new prototypes that
may provoke some discussion'.
Enhancements in natural & enjoyable interac-
tion away from `keyboards and cumbersome displays',
according to Karlgren, would require considerably
`more advanced methods for the tracking and iden-
tification of the social function of information'. He
elaborated this further, `most of the information anal-
ysis research so far has treated information separat-
See also page 66,
where Doerr's statements
on this major topic are
quoted more fully.
DCTHI7_271104.indd 45
06.12.2004 8:37:58 Uhr