Web archiving initiatives around the world capture ephemeral web content to preserve our collective digital memory. However, unlocking the potential of web archives for humanities scholars and social scientists requires scalable analytics infrastructure to support exploration of captured content. We present Warcbase, an open-source web archiving platform that aims to fill this need. Our platform takes advantage of modern open-source "big data" infrastructure, namely Hadoop, HBase, and Spark, that has been widely deployed in industry. Warcbase provides two main capabilities: support for temporal browsing and a domain-specific language that allows scholars to interrogate web archives in a number of different ways. This work represents a collaboration between computer scientists and historians, where we have engaged in iterative co-design to build tools designed for scholars with no formal computer science training. To provide further guidance, we propose a process model for scholarly interactions with web archives that begins with a substantive question and proceeds iteratively through four main steps: filter, analyze, aggregate, and visualize. We call this the FAAV cycle for short, and illustrate with three prototypical case studies. This article presents the current state of the project and discusses future directions.
In this paper, we present a semantic-based approach for dealing with interoperability issue in conservation-restoration domain. We first evaluate the context and the current needs; our observations confirm the critical need for a data integration system taking advantage of data semantics. Our solution consists in: (1) building a domain specific ontology, to rely on a unified understanding of the conservation-restoration data, (2) mapping the shared ontology to each data source, allowing each participating source to manage its own semantic database, consisting of its original data now associated to the semantic level, and (3) integrating all sources' data and querying them in a same homogeneous way. The achievements described here have been conducted as part of the PARCOURS project, whose aim is to develop an information system able to provide a unified access to divergent and incompatible information sources, related to the cultural heritage field in general and the conservation-restoration processes in particular.
Global reconstruction of two-dimensional wall paintings (frescoes) from fragments is an important problem for many archaeological sites. The goal is to find the global position and rotation for each fragment so that all fragments jointly "reconstruct'' the original surface (i.e., solve the puzzle). Manual fragment placement is difficult and time-consuming, especially when fragments are irregularly shaped and uncolored. Systems have been proposed to first acquire 3D surface scans of the fragments and then use computer algorithms to solve the reconstruction problem. These systems work well for small test cases and for puzzles with distinctive features, but fail for larger reconstructions of real wall paintings with eroded and missing fragments due to the complexity of the reconstruction search space. We address the search problem with an unsupervised genetic algorithm (GA): we evolve a pool of partial reconstructions that grow through recombination and selection over the course of generations. We introduce a novel algorithm for combining partial reconstructions that is robust to noise and outliers, and we provide a new selection procedure that balances fitness and diversity in the population. In experiments with a benchmark dataset our algorithm is able to achieve larger and more accurate global reconstructions than previous automatic algorithms.
JOCCH Special Issue on Digital Infrastructures for Cultural Heritage (2nd part)
Archaeological data are characterized by both spatial and temporal dimensions that are often related to each other and are of particular interest during the interpretation process. For this reason, several attempts have been performed in recent years in order to develop a GIS tailored for archaeological data. However, despite the increasing use of information technologies in the archaeological domain, the actual situation is that any agency or research group independently develops its own local database and management application which is isolated from the others. Conversely, the sharing of information and the cooperation between different archaeological agencies or research groups can be particularly useful in order to support the interpretation process by using data discovered in similar situations w.r.t. spatio-temporal or thematic aspects. In the geographical domain, the INSPIRE initiative of European Union tries to support the development of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) through which several organizations, like public bodies or private companies, with overlapping goals can share data, resources, tools and competencies in an effective way. The aim of this paper is to lay the basis for the development of an Archaeological SDI starting from the experience acquired during the collaboration among several Italian organizations. In particular, the paper proposes a spatio-temporal conceptual model for archaeological data based on the ISO Standards of the 19100 family and promotes the use of the GeoUML methodology in order to put into practice such interoperability. The GeoUML methodology and tools have been enhanced in order to suite the archaeological domain and to automatically produce several useful documents, configuration files and codebase starting from the conceptual specification. The applicability of the spatio-temporal conceptual model and the usefulness of the produced tools have been tested in three different Italian contexts: Rome, Verona and Isola della Scala.
Video games and their design are complex in their nature, given the variety of aspects and challenges to face and the different expertises that have to be involved. Furthermore, Serious Games have an even tougher challenge, since the knowledge acquisition has the same importance and relevance as entertainment and pleasure for the players. Serious Games in Cultural Heritage require additional effort to introduce immersivity and collaboration among players. This paper introduces a framework, named FRACH, to conceive, design, and evaluate immersive and collaborative Serious Games in Cultural Heritage. In particular, FRACH provides a design framework with steps to follow during the whole process, that is, from the early design phase to the evaluation phase of a Serious Game. We assessed the efficacy of our framework with a specific case study in Cultural Heritage, by implementing a section of a Serious Game, named HippocraticaCivitasGame, where players were allowed to visit the Thermae of the historical site of San Pietro a Corte and Palazzo Fruscione in the city of Salerno, Italy, and to solve a given puzzle. Results of the game evaluation showed that the game was effective in terms of knowledge acquisition, participants enjoyed the game, and were highly involved in the immersive experience, and positively rated the idea of using the game for educational learning in the field of Cultural Heritage.
Over the last years, thematic route planning is gaining popularity in recreational navigation. A growing number of people start to use route planning services to prepare, ride, explore and log their activities, with a particular focus on where they want to ride and what they want to see. In the context of cultural heritage, however, route planners still suffer from lack of data and route weighting/scoring mechanisms for achieving end-user satisfaction. Within this paper, we take advantage of mobile sensing and geotagging (r)evolution to tackle both issues and propose a novel framework for cultural heritage routing on top of RouteYou's existing recreational navigation platform. Our first improvement focuses on the automatic collection and multimodal enrichment of thematic cultural heritage points of interest. Secondly, we introduce a weighting procedure for these points of interest and analyze their meta(data) quality and spatial coverage in our route databases. Finally, we present a novel routing algorithm targeted to cultural heritage exploration. Experimental results show that the proposed framework improves cultural heritage POI coverage and quality with respect to traditional recreational navigation routing algorithms. Furthermore, the proposed framework can easily be used in other thematic routing applications due to its generic architecture, making it a widely applicable approach.
This paper describes a study of a digital multimedia system that allows people to enjoy a narrative experience focusing on food and gastronomic culture. With this multimedia application, termed di Piazza in Piazza, people have got in contact with several types of digital content about culinary traditions and local Italian products, simply using their hands. This design decision came after the acknowledgment that hands play a prominent role in the relationship between humans and food (think, for example, about the activities of eating and cooking). Studies of di Piazza in Piazza users have basically unveiled two results: (a) it was a really funny experience using hands and (b) narrations focusing on local products and traditions has mostly captivated the interest of visitors, thus confirming the strong cultural relationship among people, culinary traditions and regional foods.