Cultural Search Engine
Enjoying a museum collection from the comfort of your own chair? Roaming the digital depot of your favorite archive? Compiling a collection without having to travel around the world? Or performing scientific research without an appointment with the conservator? It's possible, because museums and other institutions are starting to present our cultural heritage online more and more often.
However, many times the context of a found digital heritage object is not there. This means you miss out on a lot, like a connection to objects from other museums or archives, stories about their creator, the history of their genesis and other background information, even though this kind of information is definitely available. Simply in digital form, in other digital databases. The Cultural Search Engine by MultimediaN establishes a connection of these databases and thus provides the digital cultural context.
With this Golden Demo - available on the internet - anybody can search for artworks by, for example, post impressionist painters in Europe before 1850. The search results are presented within the context of a timeline, on which the production date of the found objects is indicated. Also indicated are the relation of the art piece to the period in which the artist lived, as well as the related art movements of that period.
To be able to offer this information, a first version of a system that combines information from all these sources has been developed. Information about images of paintings on the internet is downloaded from an online museum, information on painters and other artists from another source. A third source supplies information on art movements and the materials used in art. Another one supplies information on places, regions and countries around the world that can be visited through Google Earth.
By using semantic web technology, the partners involved in the development of the Cultural Search Engine have found solutions to link information sources in a smart way and they are building a new search infrastructure. New ways to design web applications are developed. In the fall of 2006 this resulted in winning the first prize at the ‘Semantic Web challenge’ in Athens (Georgia, USA).
In a way, the Cultural Search Engine is an example of a standard application. Within the professional field it had been discussed for years, but before MultimediaN started to work on it, nobody had actually taken the step of realizing it on a large scale. Of course, we are talking about ten thousands of objects and hundreds of millions of descriptions. Computers need to learn to 'understand' all these descriptions. E-Culture members achieve this by supplying the information with special annotations (metadata). These annotations are ordered in a hierarchal way and humans supply them with useful relations. The computer can extract logical relationships from the metadata and their relationships. This way, the system can recognize relations even when they weren't described explicitly by humans.
The dream of the founder of the internet - Tim Berners-Lee - is to turn the World Wide Web into a worldwide knowledge network, where computers understand all information on the net. The application areas are therefore endless. The Cultural Search Engine is only the beginning. The project wants to connect all museums in the Netherlands within five years. After that, Europe is calling, maybe finally resulting in a worldwide digital heritage.
Watch The Cultural Search Engine Golden Video
The Emotional Analyzer (N1)
Video Search Engine (N1)
Affective Mirror (N2)
Excercise in Immersion 4 (N2)
StreetTivo (N3 and N5)
The Investigator's Dashboard (N6)
The Surveillance Dashboard (N6)
On The Move (N6 and N9MI)
Concert Video Browser (N7 and N9MI)
Cultural Search Engine (N9C)