Graduate School and Research Center In communication systems

Seminar: Agora: putting museum objects into their art-historic context

Maria Van Erp - Free University of Amsterdam (NL)

Multimedia Communications

Date: July 20, 2012

Location: Eurecom - Salle des Conseils

The digital era has presented big challenges, but also great opportunities for the museum world. One of these opportunities is the way museums can open up their collections to the public. Many museums are now actively exploring possibilities to present their collections online for visitors who cannot come to the museum, or to show objects for which they do not have space in the exhibition halls. Often they will put together themed Web sites for online exhibitions in which objects are presented in a certain context. However, these themed Web sites usually only cover only a small part of their collection. For the majority of the objects, the context is not made explicit. In the Agora project, we aim to make this context explicit in an automatic way in order to help users understand and interpret museum objects. We do this by linking museum objects to historical events and explicitly presenting these links in an event-driven browsing environment. In the first part of my talk, I will explain the theoretical framework we have developed in the Agora project to represent historical contexts as well as the general challenges to the project. In the second part of my talk, I will focus on the particular challenges in information extraction for building the event thesaurus and linking museum objects. The Agora project is a collaboration between the Computer Science and History departments at VU University Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. http://agora.cs.vu.nl

Agora: putting museum objects into their art-historic context

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