Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting:
Cultural Heritage and Technologies
in the Third Millennium.
Proceedings from the ichim01 meeting
Milan, Italy, September 3-7, 2001.
Volume 1, Full Papers
David Bearman and Franca Garzotto
ichim01 Program Co-Chairs
The The International Cultural Heritage Informatics Conference (ichim) has been held every two years since 1991, and each time it has had a distinctive character, reflecting the changes in technology and the maturation of cultural informatics in the intervening years. The Millennial meeting of ichim in 2001 is no exception. At the meetings in Milan, Italy in September 2001, ichim grew beyond the specific technologies of delivery of interactive multimedia - videodisk, CD and the web └ whose novelty had captured center stage at some previous conferences, and focused instead on the intersection between cultural knowledge representation and users experience. After a decade, we may say that ichim is reaching a point of maturity where the technology per se is less of an issue and how the technology and content can be effectively delivered to various real audiences is the major concern. And what an exciting place that is!
These Proceedings reflects the range and depth of issues in cultural heritage informatics today. Like the conference, it is organized in thematic "tracks" devoted to technology, society, design and evaluation, and applications. The conference itself included keynote addresses, panels, site visits, open discussions and demonstration sessions in addition to the full conference papers and shorter "poster" papers included here. Although print volumes can never capture the essence of a meeting, these books do justice to the issues that were debated and helps define the areas for future research.
Track 1: Technology
A world where in depth cultural explanations lurk behind everyday objects in virtual and physical spaces and where visitors interact with non-obtrusive technologies based on their interests, has long been the dream of multimedia producers. In their paper From Memoria Futura to i2TV, Jasminko Novak et.al. bravely set the tone for ichim01. Seeking a new space between reality and virtuality, in which historical cultural exploration can freely follow the imaginations of users, they suggest a technological framework and two models for new forms of cultural participation in what they dub "Mixed Realities" where real people interact with both real and virtual objects using interactive television.
In his paper on Multi Sensory 3D Tours for Cultural Heritage, Fabio Pittarello examines techniques for orienting visitors in virtual space, a problematic area of user interface design since the advent of 3D virtual reality. His reports on ?earcons╚ as one orientation method, and the potential of shared auditoiry libraries within the W3C Universal Media Initiative environments will be particularly useful to other designers.
If ever there was a cultural experience from another society that was difficult to fully participate in, it is traditional dance with its features of story-telling and spectacle. Stephen Barrass explores how visitors can become part of such an experience in An Immersive Interactive Experience of Contemporary Aboriginal Dance at the National Museum of Australia. Large scale interactive experiences, here based on a multi-person footstep driven interface device, are some of the most complex interactives we can be challenged to design.
The Digital Cathedral of Siena - Innovative Concepts for Interactive and Immersive Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites, Johannes Behr and his colleagues in Dormstadt, focus on how best to negotiate between the demands of cultural interpretation and the limitations of #D technologies and current networking.
In the past couple of years, discussion of broadband technologies has moved beyond the technical questions of how to provide adequate bandwidth to deliver digital video data to the ways in which technologies can be employed for intellectual access to multimedia archives. Because Content-Based Indexing and Retrieval (CBIR) has often been touted as a solution to virtually all image retrieval requirements, it is refreshing and valuable to have the report of the first phase of the VIRAMI project - Visual Information Retrieval for Archival Moving Imagery, illustrated by Christine Sandom and Peter Enser. By actually studying what potential clients of visual archives in the UK are seeking, they discovered that CBIR could not, in principle even if it worked fully, satisfy the kinds of queries users have.
Brian Jones╚ report on i-irasshai: An Immersive Cultural Learning Experience suggests that with respect to language teaching, the immersive interactive potential of broadband technology may be just was is required.
Leonard Steinbach, in his paper Making Art Meaningful: A Technologist╚s Real Challenge, reports on the implementation of interactive broadband multicasting services at the Cleveland Museum of Art. He reveals that the technology per se is less important than the range of new relationships that the museum had to forge to bring it into use and the kinds of services that it makes possible which themselves radically transform the nature of museum cultural programming.
In Reinventing Museums in a Broadband Environment, Kenneth Kobus affirms the fundamental social and cultural implications of implementing digital broadband services in his examination of the impact this has had on the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and the ways in which it effected work and mission there.
3D Acquisition and Modeling
Cultural Heritage workers, as well as tourists and people interested in exploring the cultural creations of their own societies, all can use virtual representations of the past. However, those in the cultural field often have special requirements. In their paper Chromatic Adaptation Post-Filtering in Image Synthesis Reproduction of Ancient Building for Restoration Support, Maurizio Rossi et.al. describe a method and its implementation for providing high quality photorealistic image synthesis of ancient building materials for those involved in restoration.
Martin Kampel and Robert Sablatnig report on a very different tool, designed to meet needs of the archaeologist, in Automated 3D recording of archaeological pottery.
How best to capture digital representations of historical artifacts and sites is a matter of great debate in the field and promises to be one of the major fruitful areas for research in the coming years. Even to those who are not versed in the technical differences between proponents of different methods, the range of foci of the different methods will serve as a useful reminder that representations are just that └ not the real thing but rather a perspective taken to capture some presumably significant features of the real thing and transpose them into the digital dimension.
Janet Goodwin et.al. propose a set of different geometries for modeling in their paper Digital Preservation of Cultural Heritage through Constructive Modeling.
In Surface model generation by the relics from slice images, and the approach to the automatic restoration, Yasuhiro Watanabe et.al. suggest methods derived from medical imaging to create surfaces from representations of slices.
Augusto Sarti and Stefano Tubaro report on Image-Based Implicit Object Modeling, and compare two multi-resolution methods along lines of efficiency and optimization of computational processes.
In KotaView: Simulating Korean Traditional Architecture Interactively and Intelligently on the Web, Won Choi Jin and Jie Hwang Eun explore the use of 3D modeling in an educational environment, where users can manipulate virtual reconstructions of Korean traditional architecture, simulate the components╚ connectivity interactively, and retrieve architectural information for learning purposes.
Track 2: Society/Impact
Culture is being transformed by interactive media, not just represented by it. Chris Stuart Hutchison and Paolo Raviolo (Review of Visual Art Representation and Communication on the Web), set out to discover how visual art is represented on the Web and found, not surprisingly, that some representations are themselves transformative. Howard Besser's Longevity of Electronic Art explores the challenges that institutions may face when they decide to collect digital art and suggests how to think about the issues of archiving it. Again, the technical questions of archiving electronic records are overshadowed by issues raised by the transformative nature of the technology, about just what digital art actually is, and what it is that we are trying to preserve.
Cultures are more than artifacts - they are a fabric that is held together by strands of ideas intrinsic to the thought processes of their society. Surface reconstructions of artifacts can only transpose them into the cultural space of the visitor. The challenge of representing a society to others is to capture and communicate the rules that connect the things, and to illustrate perspectives that reveal what can only be seen through the eyes of the culture itself.
Malak Wahba et. al. begin with the problem of reconstructing an historical city and its life. In Cairo╚s Architectural Heritage: The Downtown Area they bring data from numerous sources to bear and suggest how it can be experienced by an end user.
Nagnath R. Ramdasi covers the broadest ground in suggesting the representation problems involved in Visualising Indian Heritage where literature, dance, poetry, philosophy, architecture, art sand music meet in an integrated cultural vision built over thousands of years.
Dr.Burkhard Asmuss and his colleagues at the GMD LEMO Project move the discussion to the practical level of how to deliver a large multimedia cultural exhibition on 20th Century German History, while Chrystalla Alexandrou et.al. present A Web-based Multimedia Application for Archeological Treasures which proposes a simple, but powerful, user interface metaphor for exploration of time and space based data of the sort historical researchers are trying to interpret.
Another culture is a world with its own language. Susan Hazan╚s paper From the First Millennium to the Third, the Content is the Message, reports on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the various ways in which Israeli scholars and curators have used, and are developing, software tools for understanding and interpreting them shows us the complexity of decoding a culture from its written remains.
Like the Qumran cave texts, the Maori language newspapers being made available by Te Taka Keegan et.al., as reported in their paper The Niupepa Collection: Opening the Blinds on a Window to the Past, reveal a world little known outside New Zealand, whose alien concepts and unknown facts require novel design approaches in order to make them accessible to naive users from other societies.
When numerous such resources are available online, how does a user find and make sense of them? Gary Forger and hiscolleagues at the University of Arizona Libraries are exploring ways in which a traditional institution can take pro-active steps with its various cultural communities to make cultural interpretation a part of its mission.
In Simplified Management of Complex Digital Archives and Web Presentation Projects, David Calco discusses many new aspects project management that emerge when museum digitalization programs grown in size and complexity, and discovers the extent of technical, social, financial, and organizational change involved.
Track 3: Design and Evaluation
Are we achieving what we want to accomplish? Do we want what users need? How do we measure results? Can what we learn be applied to future work? Can what we build be used successfully in other contexts?▀ In some respects, we are far from understanding even the most basic parameters of evaluation of multimedia interactive experiences, as Patrizia Marti makes clear in her paper Design for art and leisure. But we can ask questions and observe, and both of these methods do suggest ways that we can improve our designs and the experience others have in using them.
One thing we know, which is reinforced by Marinus Swanepoel in Excellence in service: the enabling power of well managed technology is that the appropriateness of technology and the way in which the change it brings is integrated into existing frameworks, are critical to success at the service delivery end of the equation. Simply having the best and most powerful technologies is irrelevant, unless "best" is understood to mean most 'appropriate to the context"\'.
Unless cultural interactives communicate effectively to their intended audiences, they are of little value. Fortunately a critical literature is growing up beside the technical discussions, and some researchers are beginning to do systematic studies of usability. In Design Criteria for Usable Web-Accessible Virtual Environments, Filippo Costalli et.al. illustrate the ways in which many of the worlds most important museums, while providing rich sites for cultural; exploration, have unnecessarily impeded use of their Web spaces. Since the mission of the museum is clearly to enable access, some concrete suggestions can be, and are made.▀ But designing for successful user interaction becomes more difficult when the genre of the presentation is itself novel. If ever the boundaries between interactive art and interpretation of art was unclear, and hence the objectives of user interface design clouded, the musical immersives reported by Alain Bonardi and Francis Rousseaux in Towards Interactive Operas : the Virtualis project are such a case.
How to guide visitors through museums enabled by electronic technology is a subject that is increasingly attracting serious research. Two evaluation studies presented at this conference make it clear that progress is being made. In Electronic Guidebooks and Visitor Attention , Allison Woodruff et.al report on user studies conducted at Xerox Parc. Mard─ Greeff▀ and Vali Lalioti, report on South African research into virtual guides in Interactive Cultural Experiences using Virtual Identities. In both cases, designers are provided with concrete data from which to work └ should they choose to pay attention.
Issues of representing knowledge are not confined to how best to present cultural objects to end users. Preservation and authentication are fundamental concerns for cultural curators, that must be addressed in knowledge representation schemes. In their paper, A Metadata Model for Multimedia Databases, Cristina Ribeiro and Gabriel David provide a framework for metadata capture that is designed to ensure authenticity, contextuality and long-term preservability.
Looking at the problem from the other direction, Jan C.A. van der Lubbe et.al. explore how data in digital representations can be used to establish Dating And Authentication Of Rembrandt╚s Etchings With The Help Of Computational Intelligence.
Track 4: Tools and Systems
Managing Digital Archives
In their paper Digital Video and Hypermedia Based New Services for Working on Patrimonial Archives, Henri Betaille et.al. from LIRMM propose a socio-technical solution to the intellectual access problems posed by video archives that addresses the unprecedented scale of the indexing problem. The solution proposed by the team at LIRMM, utilizing collaboratory tools and sophisticated understandings of the underlying characteristics of motion image archives, provides an economical and socially plausible solution that should be carefully studied.
Like Betaille et.al.,▀ J┌rgen Keiper et. al. have resorted to a collaboratory to catalog and annotate archival resources devoted to film └ in this case textual resources from censorship files as reported in COLLATE - A Web-Based Collaboratory for Content-Based Access to and Work with Digitized Cultural Material.
Geographic Information Systems
Marco Lazzari et.al. define and then illustrate the high level functional requirements SITUS, a Web-Based Geographic Information System for Archaeological Sites, designed with the working archaeologist in mind.
Monica Sebillo et.al., in Supporting the Promotion of Historical and Cultural Treasures with a GIS-Based Visual Environment examine the very different interface requirements of a casual end-user of such an environment and demonstrate the potential of a visual query tool using icons to represent GIS objects.
The expense and effort of authoring multimedia has led most designers to consider the benefits of greater interoperability within and between institutions constructing multimedia objects and building structures for delivery of interpretation that uses multimedia objects. To date, little acceptance has greeted standards for representation advanced by any group, but progress has been made in demonstrating some of the benefits that would accrue based on experiments within a single environment. In this conference, Gabriele Scali and Flavio Tariffi explore the requirements for a new architecture for modular museum systems in Bridging the collection management system-multimedia exhibition divide.
Laurence des Cars et.al, report on the implementation of an integrated museum system in A New Professional Application at the Museée d'Orsay, and in particular on how attention to user requirements over many years of development shaped the application.
Sites of outstanding cultural or natural value are a kind of 'open air'museums, and the web can become a vehicle for protecting them and for documenting their heritage. This concept is investigated by Nicolo Ciccarelli et.al. in their paper Exploring Landscape, Documenting Culture, Constructing Memory: The Loire Valley Internet Workshop, where authors tell the story of a landscape exploration and cultural documentation in the age of the Internet, carried on by an interdisciplinary team of over twenty students, teachers, professionals, and government officials.
Open storage has been a kind of museum exhibition gallery that has attracted technology solutions for over a decade. In Envisioning & Evaluating 'Out-of- Storage' Solutions, Luigina Ciolfi et. al. experiment work with this genre of museum space.
In MUSE: An integrated system for mobile fruition and site management, T. Salmon Cinotti et.al. explore how to take such content and integrate it into wireless, handheld, tour devices that satisfy visitors.
The implecations of these innovative technologies for medium size cultural history museums are examined by Colin Beardon et.al. in their paper Developing interactive Web-based facilities for medium-sized museums , and highlighting how development strategies might differ due to institutional size and mandate.
In Points of Departure: Integrating Technology into the Galleries of Tomorrow, Peter Samis describes how art museum curators and educators can work closely together to develop an exhibition in which artworks and innovative educational technologies are seamlessly integrated.
Dozens of other short papers, presented at the conference in poster sessions, are also included in the printed Proceedings. These papers were peer reviewed and accepted for ichim01 in the poster format because they presented concrete research results that could be reported in a brief form, represented an interim report of a stage in a project that will be more fully reported later, or because they framed a conceptual issue that could be neatly stated in a short format even though it opened the way to a wealth of discussion and debate. Their brief format makes summarizing them here unnecessary └ do wish to point out, however that they are not "junior partners:" but every bit as important as the longer papers discussed above.
The International Cultural Heritage Informatics Conference (ichim) continues to demonstrate that the new technologies are enabling broader, deeper and richer access to cultures worldwide, despite the challenges faced by those who are designing and implementing cultural heritage informatics applications in developing countries. Program participants in ichim came to Italy from more than 25 countries to demonstrate and discuss their projects and programs. Sponsors from the European Union, Italy and its regions and cities, as well as the local museums have come forward to support them and ensure that their visit would be memorable and enjoyable. We are grateful to all who have given of their time and resources to make ichim01 a success.
As with previous ichim conferences, the two years between this meeting in Milan and our last meeting in Washington DC, saw a great deal of progress on many fronts. There was time for many projects that were only planned in 1999 to be fully reported on in 2001. While the theme of the Millennium conveniently provided opportunity for reflection on our accomplishments, and speculation about the longer-term future, it was the short two years past that provided the concrete results reported, and discussed, at ichim01.▀
As co-program chairs of ichim01, we offer our great thanks to the Members of the Program Committee who reviewed every paper proposed for the conference, and made the difficult decisions that resulted in the exceptional program reflected here. The many hours they put into reviewing hundreds of submitted papers are an un-rewarded service to the profession, but not one that has gone unnoticed or unthanked! We appreciate your investment and are aware that your contribution has made ichim01 a better meeting for all attendees.
David Bearman and Franca Garzotto
ichim01 Program Co-Chairs.
for all papers are also online.