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.
The discovery of quasi-crystals has led to a great debate about their unusual structures. The big surprise is that these structures have been found in the world of Islamic art dating back several centuries. This latest discovery drew attention of scientists to propose several approaches for the comprehension of these structures by analyzing several quasi-periodic patterns spread around the Islamic World. In this work we will describe a simplified and general method for constructing a new variety of Islamic quasi-periodic patterns. The method builds Islamic quasi-periodic patterns based on a quasi-periodic tiling and a few intuitive parameters. Given a quasi-periodic tiling, the method divides its tiles (rhombs) into symmetric right triangles and constructs the template motifs within theme. The construction of these template motifs is achieved by a systematic and well organized process. The content of the tiles is obtained by application of mirror reflections to the constructed template motifs. Finally, the pattern is drawn by putting the constructed tiles' contents in the tiles of the tiling. To show the effectiveness of this generative method, examples of new quasi-periodic patterns will be presented.
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.
Virtual environment has the potential to be used as a medium to facilitate cultural learning. However, this requires guidelines on how to design the environment. This article provides a conceptual framework that guides the design of a virtual environment that facilitates cultural learning for casual users. The exploratory sequential mixed-method design approach was used as the basis for the overall research design. Five studies involving experts and end users were performed to identify and evaluate the framework components. The framework consists of four important components: i) Information Design ii) Information Presentation iii) Navigation Mechanism and iv) Environment Setting, and outlines two types of design elements; basic elements which are essential for cultural learning to take place, and extended elements which provide options for enhanced user experience. Results from the framework evaluation suggest that the proposed design elements are useful in facilitating learning and that the experience of using the virtual environment affected the end users sense of awareness and appreciation towards heritage value and preservation.
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.
This paper describes a prototype natural user interface, named the Intangible Musical Instrument, which aims to facilitate access to the knowledge of the performers that constitutes musical Intangible Cultural Heritage, using off-the-shelf motion capturing that is easily accessed by the public at large. This prototype is able to capture, model and recognize musical gestures (upper body including fingers) as well as to sonify them. The emotional status of the performer affects the sound parameters at the synthesis level. Intangible Musical Instrument is able to support both learning and performing/composing by providing to the user not only intuitive gesture control but also a unique user experience. In addition, the first evaluation of the Intangible Musical Instrument is presented, in which all the functionalities of the system are assessed. Overall, the results with respect to this evaluation were very promising.
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.
We present a usage analysis of an interactive system for the exploration of highly detailed 3D models of a collection of protostoric mediterranean sculptures. In this system, after selecting the object of interest inside the collection, its detailed 3D model and associated information are presented at high resolution on a large vertical display controlled by a touch-enabled horizontal surface placed at a suitable distance in front of it. The indirect user interface combines an object-aware interactive camera controller with an interactive point-of-interest selector and is implemented within a scalable implementation based on multiresolution structures shared between the rendering and user interaction subsystems. The system has been installed in several temporary and permanent exhibitions, and has been extensively used by tens of thousands of visitors. We provide here a data-driven analysis of usage experience based on logs gathered during a 24 months period in four exhibitions in Archeological museums, for a total of over 75K exploration sessions. exploration user interfaces in future digital installations. The user study is particularly focused on individuating the main visitor behaviors during 3D exploration by employing tools for deriving interest measures on surfaces, and tools for clustering and knowledge discovery from high-dimensional data. The results highlight the main trends in visitor behavior during the interactive sessions, which can provide useful insights for the design of 3D exploration user interfaces in future digital installations.