Geospatio-Temporal Semantic Web for Cultural Heritage

Geospatio-Temporal Semantic Web for Cultural Heritage

Tomi Kauppinen (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland), Panu Paakkarinen (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland), Eetu Mäkela (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland), Heini Kuittinen (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland), Jari Väätäinen (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland) and Eero Hyvönen (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-867-8.ch004

Abstract

People frequently need to find knowledge related to places when they plan a leisure trip, when they are executing that plan in a certain place, or when they want to virtually explore a place they have visited in the past. In this chapter the authors present and discuss a set of methods for searching and browsing spatio-temporally referenced knowledge related to cultural objects, e.g. artifacts, photographs and visiting sites. These methods have been implemented in the semantic cultural heritage portal CultureSampo that offers map-based interfaces for a user to explore hundreds of thousands of content objects and points of interest in Finland. Their goal is develop and demonstrate novel ways to help the user 1) to decide where to go for a trip, and 2) to learn more about the neighborhoods and points of interest during the visit.
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Background

Semantic Web and Ontologies for Cultural Heritage

Cultural heritage portals is an especially promising domain for the application of semantic web technologies (Hyvönen, 2009).The idea of the Semantic Web3 (Berners-Lee et al., 2001) and in particular Semantic Web ontologies (Staab & Studer, 2009) is to offer a “common language” for applications and services to use when they speak about resources, e.g. places, persons, artefacts or events. Semantic Web technologies offer means to describe knowledge about different domains in a machine-processable form as ontologies (Allemang & Hendler, 2008). The goal is to build a “web of data” for machines that can be used to make the current “web of documents” more usable and intelligent for humans.

Ontologies define classes, individuals, properties and relationships that are used to represent things of the world. These things can be anything, like organizations, persons, places, time, or events. By using relationships, persons can be related to e.g. the places they have been born in, or to their birth times. Publishing ontologies on the Semantic Web enables people and organizations to use shared ontologies in annotating e.g. photographs, videos, music, and other types of cultural objects. Search engines can use relationships provided by ontologies in semantic searching and recommendation (Hyvönen et al., 2005).

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