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A new European Project: PATHS

IXA Group is participating with other 5 partners in a new European project: PATHS (2010-2012).
The PATHS project (Personalised Access To cultural Heritage Spaces)  primarily addresses objective ICT-2009.4.1: Digital Libraries and Digital Preservation. It relates to target outcome (d), adaptive cultural experiences, by creating personalised views of various forms of cultural expression, adapting these views to the background and cognitive context of the user and offering meaningful guidance about the interpretation of cultural works. PATHS will make important progress in this direction.

Europeana: Significant amounts of cultural heritage material are now available through online digital library portals. However, this vast amount of cultural heritage material can also be overwhelming for many users who are provided with little or no guidance on how to find and interpret this information.

The PATHS project will create a system that acts as an interactive personalised tour guide through existing digital library collections. The system will offer suggestions about items to look at and assist in their interpretation. Navigation will be based around the metaphor of a path through the collection. A path can be based around any theme, for example artist and media (“paintings by Picasso”), historic periods (“the Cold War”), places (“Venice”) and famous people (“Muhammad Ali”). Users will be able to construct their own paths or follow pre-defined ones.

The PATHS project will provide users with innovative ways to access and utilise the contents of digital libraries that enrich their experiences of these resources. This will be achieved by extending the state-of-the-art in user-driven information access and by applying language technologies to analyse and enrich online content. The project will take a user-centred approach to development to accommodate the needs, interests and preferences of different types of users.

These goals shall be realised through the following objectives :

  • Analysis of users’ requirements for access to Cultural Heritage collections
  • Organisation and enrichment of Cultural Heritage content for use within a navigation system
  • Implementation of a system for navigating Cultural Heritage resources
  • Techniques for providing personalised access to Cultural Heritage content
  • Porting the navigation system for use on mobile devices and Facebook
  • Evaluation with user groups and in field trials

Therefore, the project will research on the following areas:

  • Information Access: The project will develop a user-driven navigation through collections of information, gathering the users’ requirements and modeling it.

  • Educational Informatics: Adapting to individual learners in relation to being directed and being allowed the freedom to explore autonomously.
  • Content interpretation and enrichment: Representation and sharing of information about items, and identifying background information related to the items in cultural heritage collections

IXA Group will work mainly in content processing and enrichment. This means that content from Cultural Heritage sources will processed to a multi-layered network and augmented with additional information that will enrich the user’s experience. The additional information will include links between items in the collection and to external sources like Wikipedia or other relevant collections. The resulting multi-layered network will form the basis for the paths used to navigate the collection.

The PATHS consortium contains six partners.

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