April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Demonstrations: Description

Creating 3D Museums on the Web

Stefan Decker, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Izabela Irzynska, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Jacek Jankowski, Digital Enterprise Research Institute, Ireland
Marek Jozwowicz, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Bill McDaniel, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

3D web and online virtual realities provide us with an opportunity to have experiences that would otherwise be impossible. We can interact and learn in three-dimensional environments that represent present or past cultural heritage monuments, museums along with its exhibits, or other interesting places that would be inaccessible or even not possible to visit for an average Internet user. Thanks to the fast increase in the performance of affordable graphics hardware, we can explore virtual worlds, which are competitive with our real world.

3D web is a promising initiative that can have a great impact on cultural heritage. Museums start to recognize the potential offered by this technology. However, creating 3D museums on the Web is challenging. Two main difficulties that museums come across while trying to adopt the 3D Web technologies are:

- efficient creation of 3D models of artifacts

- building virtual exhibitions of these models.

The technology of 3D model creation (e.g., 3D scanners) becomes better and more affordable. However, it is still very difficult to find simple (i.e., museum staff friendly), cost effective and usable (i.e., systems should provide museum visitors with intuitive interfaces) frameworks for creating 3D web exhibitions.

In this paper, we describe a simple to use authoring application, which may help museums to create virtual exhibitions in a quick and intuitive way. We introduce 3dWiki, a 3D wiki engine. It resembles MediaWiki, the engine used by Wikipedia. However, it was implemented according to 2-Layer Interface Paradigm (2LIP) and in comparison to a classic wiki page the background in 3dWiki can be a 3D visualization of the place/object described in the article. It was developed for use by Copernicus, our vision of a 3D encyclopedia (see

When using 3dWiki, the process of creating a new 3D web exhibition consists of (a) designing the layout of the museum, (b) decorating the rooms with paintings/images, objects used on other scenes or 3D models uploaded by the user, and (c) writing textual descriptions for the objects. Once the author has created the 3D exhibition and has written the descriptions of the artifacts, the interesting places in the 3D scene may be selected and connected to the links in the text.

While interacting with a 3dWiki article, the user is presented with both the 3D scene representing the museum and the detailed information about the collection. Hyperlinks are used for navigation on the 3D scene. For example: a user reading an article about Polish Heritage Park in Olsztyn might be interested in taking a closer look at a flag used during the great rebellion. Clicking the "flag" link triggers the animation. The camera will smoothly move over the 3D scene following the predefined motion path; it will stop behind the workshop showing this historical artifact. Users can also switch to the free navigation mode at any time – it supports 3D interactions such as zoom, rotate, etc.

In the mini-workshop presentation, we will describe step by step how to create a virtual exhibition using 3dWiki: from creating models representing the artifacts, through authoring the textual content, creating the links, to publishing the result on-line.

Demonstration: Demonstrations II [Close Up]

Keywords: 3D Web, Wiki, authoring virtual exhibition, 2LIP