Semantic Approaches for the Use of Cultural Data

Semantic Approaches for the Use of Cultural Data

F. Gouveia (Fernando Pessoa University, Porto, Portugal) and S. Lira (CLEPUL, Porto, Portugal & Green Lines Institute for Sustainable Development, Barcelos, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/IJCMHS.2018070104

Abstract

Cultural heritage information, stored increasingly in a digital form in cultural institutions such as museums, archives, and specialized libraries is being used for several applications and by several actors, from public policy, tourism, app developers and software companies, schools and the general public at large. Due to the proliferation of digital cultural content sources there has been a boom in applications, and cultural heritage is seen as a valuable asset for tourism, culture, education and entertainment. The information from those sources must be format independent, multi-lingual to attract a global audience, multi-purpose, and make use of standards, norms and national and international recommendations in order to fulfill different requirements of a diverse range of users, essentially mobile. The authors describe an inventory and content management system and the conceptual and architectural choices that were made to allow its evolution, standards' compliance and multi-purpose use as a cultural data provider. This article also describes current metadata efforts, metadata formats and ontologies specific to the cultural heritage domain and how they have been used to face the current challenges in this area such as providing engaging user experiences.
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Background

The web is an interlinked collection of resources, identified by what is called a URI (Uniform Resource Identifier). A kind of URI is what people generally type in a web browser to access a given site. To be able to make available their data so that it is found, either by searching or by looking from other data, institutions need to take a systematic approach to web publishing by providing as much context information as possible.

The so called semantic web is a web with context information, organized in a way to make search and navigation easy and accurate by providing only relevant information. The semantic web is designed to make search and discovery more efficient, and to navigate from one resource to the other as one would normally do in a web page. For example, when searching for the painter Picasso there would be irrelevant results, like those related to a car model with that same name, software packages or generic pages mentioning Picasso. Discovery is also an important behavior, as people would normally move from one page to the other by following links. The semantic web should keep and encourage that same behavior, mainly if computer programs are browsing the data as this is the only way they can move from one page to another.

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