An Innovative Architecture of a System for Storing and Managing Intangible Cultural Heritage

An Innovative Architecture of a System for Storing and Managing Intangible Cultural Heritage

Alessia D’Andrea (IRPPS-CNR, Italy), Arianna D’Ulizia (IRPPS-CNR, Italy), Fernando Ferri (IRPPS-CNR, Italy) and Patrizia Grifoni (IRPPS-CNR, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-883-8.ch022
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Abstract

In this chapter an innovative architecture of a system for the collection, preservation, management and access of intangible cultural heritage is proposed. It allows local or national cultural heritage organizations and local community members to acquire and manage intangible cultural contents and to admit access for potential users to these contents through mobile devices and intelligent interfaces.
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Introduction

Culture is inherited and that makes it our heritage. Every society or group lays claim to its heritage. Cultural Heritage comprises material (physical) relicts of the past as well as the immaterial, or Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), as defined by UNESCO.

ICH consists of “the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills–as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith–that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage” (UNESCO, 2003). This heritage includes:

  • Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of ICH;

  • Performing arts;

  • Social practices, rituals and festive events;

  • Knowledge and practices concerning landscape, nature and the universe;

  • Traditional craftsmanship.

ICH is the basis of society. By its nature, it is in a constant creative flow and change, continually challenged by “globalization” (the dynamic exchanges between global and local patterns of culture). It provides a rich tacit knowledge for challenges we are facing today (e.g. traditional knowledge on irrigation systems, on regularly occurring natural phenomena etc.). So, ICH contains customs and fashions of the society. It helps people to create collective memories.

Preserving this heritage is a difficult task that involves the communities, but also memory organizations, as libraries, archives and museums, in the preservation and management of the cultural aspects of each community.

The aim of this chapter is to propose an innovative architecture of a system for collection, preservation, management and access of intangible cultural heritage. It allows acquiring and managing intangible cultural contents and to admit access for potential users to these contents through mobile devices and intelligent interfaces. The system is addressed to two classes of users:

  • 1.

    Local community members and memory organizations (expert users), providing them with methodologies and tools to acquire, store and manage ICH.

  • 2.

    Various users that want to access information provided by the system (final users), e.g. public administration in charge of the protection of ICH, UNESCO, funding agencies, researchers, organisers of cultural events, museums, archives, libraries, tourists, tourist information centres, historic city centres or any larger heritage site. They can receive information about the ICH in according to their locations by means of sensors (location-based access), or independently from their location through a natural and enjoyable interaction with smart devices (for all other access).

The chapter is organised as follows. The next section reviews same basic concepts of Information Technology related to the area of ICH. The middle sections of the chapter describe the components of the proposed architecture and present its main peculiarities and the operational scenario. In the last sections the progresses beyond the state-of-art are illustrated and some conclusions are given.

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Background

Preserving ICH has played a major role in the cultural policies and programmes at all levels (local, regional, national, European and international) in recent years. In particular, the UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage Section is furthering a large number of programmes that involve different countries around the world and that deal with the promotion of measures and policies for the preservation of traditional and popular practices, expressions and representations. In fact, if nothing is done, the risk is that a large number of intangible heritage objects will be lost.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Management System: a system used to organize and process digital documents like images, videos and presentations.

Multimodality: quality of a system to allow more than one communication modality to be used during human-computer interaction.

Human-Computer Interaction: discipline concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them.

Context Adaptation: the ability of Information Systems to adapt their behaviour to distinct possible situations.

Semantic Web: evolving development of the World Wide Web in which the semantics of information and services on the web is defined, making it possible for the web to understand and satisfy the requests of people and machines to use the web content.

Intangible Cultural Heritage: the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills–as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith–that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage

Content Management: set of processes and technologies that support the evolutionary life cycle of digital information. This digital information is often referred to as content or, to be precise, digital content. Digital content may take the form of text, such as documents, multimedia files, such as audio or video files, or any other file type which follows a content lifecycle which requires management.

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