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Virtual Museum International

Objective

The objectives of the VISEUM project are to link museum sites in Europe to similar sites in Canada via trans-Atlantic fibre optic cable using ATM technology, and to make use of this linkage to share image archives among participating institutions and to facilitate collaboration among the participants in research and development.
The cross cultural exchange of heritage image data will be explored. The collections in Canada feature principally images of native culture or primal Canadian landscape. Those in Europe feature the cultural heritage of the principal social communities that founded the modern culture of Canada. Traversing one third the circumference of the earth, the high speed infrastructure will provide almost instantaneous access to formerly mutually inaccessible heritage resources.
The core project research activity of the VISEUM Project will focus on the establishment of an advanced ATM networking infrastructure and a client/server system for high-quality remote image access which are used to deploy pilot media data in the area of cultural activities. The result will be a "virtual museum" connecting institutions in Europe and North America.
Expected Impact
There is no doubt that networking will dramatically change peoples lives in the 21st century. This project will stimulate access to the global cultural resources with benefits for education, awareness of history and cultural diversity. The development of a consensus on security and copyright solutions will help the expansion of commercial use of the Internet in the cultural field. The fear of security breaches and the lack of reimbursement for high quality materials which would be sold in other forms (CD-ROMs and books) is holding back the dissemination of information over the Internet. The increased awareness that reasonable security is possible and that some items can be made available on a payment basis or only to subscribers will inevitably help the development of source providers.
With the use of access control, museums and galleries will become more amenable to the interchange of research materials. This will have positive affects on the dissemination of data and techniques which should help increase the quality of conservation of fragile objects around the world. Europe is extremely rich in cultural centres and museums and the development of these network resources will help developing countries in their conservation efforts.

Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Main deliverables
Design, implementation and evaluation of a system for the remote access of high resolution images.
Contribution to the programme
Cross cultural exchange of high-quality image data and contribution to the conservation of pieces of art.

Technical Approach
In terms of broad categorisation, the work is divided in networking infrastructure, application systems and content deployment.
The first part of the project is the establishment of the networking infrastructure required to implement the proposed applications. This involves the interconnection of the Canadian Rnet and CANARIE research networks with the JAMES network in Europe using the trans-Atlantic fibre optic link CANTAT-3 as jointly operated by Teleglobe Canada and Deutsche Telekom Berkom. The network will be ATM-based.
The second aspect of the project is the specification, implementation and evaluation of a client/server system for the remote access of high-resolution images.
The generation and deployment of content is the third part of VISEUM. Pieces of art in the museums are being digitised, indexed and stored in a database with an attached CD-ROM jukebox.
Summary of Trial
The VISEUM - Virtual Museum International project will use high-speed network links to combine image archives in museums in Europe and Canada into a single virtual museum.
As a result of previous projects, the museums have large banks of high-quality digital images. When this content is shared over a network, it will make possible comparisons which have previously not been feasible: for example, accurate-colour details from two paintings held by different institutions could be compared side-by-side on the computer screen. Also infra-red, ultra-violet and x-ray images which are usually not published at all can be accessed remotely in high resolution.
This will prove the viability of the concept and lead to further possibilities in collaboration among the participants. After the end of the project, the materials might be available to other institutions and the general public over the network.
Key Issues
Intercontinental Linkage
ATM Hub Transport Network
Remote browsing, viewing and downloading of high-resolution images. We will implement an image viewer for remote interactive browsing of very large images (up to 20.000 x 20.000 pixel and 1,6 GByte per file)
Colorimetric images. We will support device-independent colour images, allowing colour judgements to be made from the comparison of two images from different institutions on the computer screen
Performance enhancement of an existing CD-ROM jukebox to adapt it to ATM speed level
Deployment of content on image servers
Integration with existing database structures
International Interoperability
Realisation and evaluation of two trialing phases with real world users in Canada and Europe
Virtual Museum International

Coordinator

Deutsche Telekom Berkom
Address
Goslarer Ufer 35
10589 Berlin
Germany

Participants (11)

Advanced Cultural Technologies Inc
Canada
BIRKBECK COLLEGE
United Kingdom
Address
Malet Street
WC1E 7HX London
CANARIE Inc
Canada
Laboratoire de Recherche des Musees de France
France
NSM Jukebox GmbH
Germany
Newbridge Networks Corp
Canada
Research Networking Association of BC
Canada
Teleglobe Canada Inc
Canada
The National Gallery of London
United Kingdom
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON
United Kingdom
Address
Southampton Ocenagraphic Centre, European Way
SO14 3ZH Southampton
Virtual Museum Association of BC
Canada