background image
241
On the radar: The Hypermuseum Theme Generator
The HyperMuseum Theme Generator System (TGS) is part of the HyperMuseum system,
a European virtual museum portal. Its function is to assist in the creation of so-called
personalised themes. A personalised theme allows the end user to bring together a unique
collection of multimedia objects from the HyperMuseum Server, and to create a
personalised rendering of the perceived and/or recorded relationships between these
objects, realised as a new multimedia document (web site, PowerPoint® presentation,
hypertext or Word® document etc.).The TGS supports this creative expression both
during the discovery phase, exploring the collection and discovering thematic relationships, as
well as the realisation phase, the construction of the resulting documents.The primary target
audience is non-expert users mainly from the secondary education community.
cf. Stuer, Meersman, Bruyne, STARLab VUB, 2001
Some of the authoring tools for easy content creation may be found on the Internet
itself. As Pia Vigh, Manager of CultureNet Denmark, remarks:"It is important for us to
know when our audience takes the role as content providers themselves: How do they do
it and what do they find important?" (DigiCULT ERT, Edinburgh, July 24, 2001) This
makes clear that cultural heritage institutions should be open to monitor the latest trends
as they give many clues of how and what users want to communicate, and which channels
they use.
One of the most recent developments on the web are weblogs.Vigh observes a wavelike
development on the Internet, where first, individual web sites have developed into larger
communities and portals, which is now followed by a kind of opposite development, with
more and more personal web sites appearing."Now we are seeing the opposite trend again,
i.e. weblogs. People's personal weblogs are the strongest and fastest growing feature on the
Internet right now.To me that is a clear signal that communities of even cultural contents as
well as personal weblogs is something we should monitor and something we should learn
from when we are building our own big and complex portals. (...) I think that we should
pay close attention to what our users are doing on the Internet, not just how they are using
it to seek out information but also when they publish information themselves." (DigiCULT
ERT, Edinburgh, July 24, 2001)
Weblogs help users to instantly publish on the web, without writing any code or
worrying about installing any server software.Weblogs are web pages that contain short,
frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically.The content and purpose of
weblogs varies greatly, from links and commentary about other web sites, to news about
companies, persons or ideas, to diaries, photos, poetry, project updates, even fiction.Weblogs
also allow people to work collaboratively, as they can contribute to one weblog, share
information, support communication among groups, or within an intranet, share resources
and posts with team members.
Using weblog tools like Blogger or Metafilter, users can automate the publishing process
through templates. Current weblog tools provide only little space in which to write an
entry, which forces authors to be extremely concise in producing this sort of micro-
content.Weblog users can update their site automatically, by simply adding content to the
existing page instead of uploading the newest version of ones page.The results show up
immediately, in the design the user has chosen. Contrary to normal web pages, weblogs
are updated frequently, sometimes daily.
Today, weblog technology is picked up by industry such as the London Newspaper
"The Guardian" to publish regular columns and commentaries.
IX TECHNOLOGY
ON THE RAD
AR