In the context of the ResearchSpace project, metaphacts was selected by the British Museum to develop a domain optimized solution delivering an agile application for search, annotation and visualization for humanities and cultural heritage research. The solution is based on metaphactory and aims at providing a collaborative platform for humanities and cultural heritage research using knowledge representation and Semantic Web technologies. It tackles the challenges faced by art historians, curators, conservators, and scientists on a daily basis, and supports them in authoring and publishing cultural heritage data.
The ResearchSpace Approach - A CIDOC CRM-based System
To enable the integration of data from various sources and at the same time allow for the data to retain its individual characteristics, original meaning and perspective, metaphactory uses the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model as the knowledge representation system, together with its official extensions. In fact, metaphacts is the first company to have built a productive solution which successfully integrates the CIDOC CRM ontology. The integrated data provides the ideal environment for research, while the customized components integrated into the metaphactory platform support numerous analysis, search and collaboration scenarios on top of these data.
Key Solution Components
Leveraging metaphactory, metaphacts' end-to-end platform for creating and utilizing enterprise knowledge graphs, the ResearchSpace platform supports various resource types - things, people, places, images, etc. - and delivers a wide spectrum of sophisticated and powerful features supporting researchers in their daily tasks, including
- Semantic search - contextual relationships are used to search different types of information across heterogeneous datasets
- Geo search - maps are used to search resources using digital coordinates
- Intelligent, semantic clipboard - users can save searches and search results to their own, personalized research space, create own datasets, use clipboard items to tweak searches, create arguments and underpin narratives - all of this privately or collaboratively
- Semantic annotation & semantic narratives - providing an intersection between structured data and analytical narratives, the system allows users to write about individual resources (annotations) or general articles (general narratives) and visualize their narratives to create digital essays that are related to the resources they reference
- Assertions and arguments - the system provides innovative functionalities to support text-based annotations and represent assertions backed up by semi-formalized arguments, which allow research teams to analyze their work, reach agreements and, therefore, provide vital information for institutions in improving their 'canonical' institutional data
- Image annotation - leveraging the IIIF standard for streaming high resolution images, our solution supports the definition of image regions which become related resources and can be annotated with semantic annotations and used in arguments
- Lightbox - users can view, manipulate, compare, overlay and link images and image regions in organized sets
- Semantic Web Database - our solution comes with a flexible semantic database system which can be used to define new patterns of knowledge, create custom input screens for project members, and share knowledge patterns with the community
Who is this relevant for?
The ResearchSpace platform delivers benefits for two different target groups: art experts and art consumers.
Art experts benefit from an application which relies on simplified integration of external data sources, a more transparent data model and numerous query and visualization functionalities. This lowers the technical barriers, required expertise and cost for producing high quality cultural heritage data. In other words, institutions can, for example, much cheaper develop and maintain their customer-facing assets such as website, informational brochures, etc.
Art consumers, on the other hand, benefit, for example, from an application providing art-related information in a more interactive, exciting and thought-provoking manner, based on own preferences and interests.