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Metaphor for Science Museums

Objective

MESMUSES aims at designing and experimenting a "geographic" metaphor for organising, structuring and presenting the scientific and technical knowledge offered to the public by scientific museums. The metaphor is the one of knowledge maps, which all together create and offer a cartography of connected or neighbouring knowledge domains. These maps will enable the creation of semantic portals through which users will easily locate information relevant to their current interest, and from which they will navigate either on predefined itineraries, or on new routes that they will choose freely on the map. The same knowledge structure will also facilitate management and reuse of information assets by producers, e.g. museum staff preparing supporting content for a temporary exhibition.

Objectives:
MESMUSES aims at designing and experimenting a "geographic" metaphor for organising, structuring and presenting the scientific and technical knowledge offered to the public by scientific museums. The metaphor is the one of knowledge maps, which all together create and offer a cartography of connected or neighbouring knowledge domains. These maps will enable the creation of semantic portals through which users will easily locate information relevant to their current interest, and from which they will navigate either on predefined itineraries, or on new routes that they will choose freely on the map. The same knowledge structure will also facilitate management and reuse of information assets by producers, e.g. museum staff preparing supporting content for a temporary exhibition.

Work description:
A first objective will be to establish and validate a methodology and related tools for Scientific Knowledge Cartography (SKC). Our methodology will be based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF), a W3C standard, hence enabling knowledge exchange between various organisations, and cooperative development of ontologies. A second objective is to choose and experiment tools for creating "itineraries" on the knowledge landscape, to orient museum visitors through a real physical exhibition or a virtual one. An itinerary is basically a web of information resources, which are described by the concepts of the knowledge map, and are connected by typed links which are themselves properties linking these concepts at the abstract level. One of the major challenges addressed in the project is to imagine the graphical user interface and browsing method that will make this itinerary on a knowledge map understandable by a museum visitor. A third objective, tightly linked to the previous one, is to design personalisation methods which will offer different itineraries on the same knowledge domains to the different categories of visitors, from the very young or elderly people, to university scholars. We will experiment dynamic re-routing of the visitor from an itinerary to another according to his queries or requests. The last major objective of the project will be to design various tools for managing and reusing information assets. Managing information resources implies notably to index them in the terms of the conceptual schema, whatever may be the format and media of these resources, from a section in a book chapter, physically available in the museum library and represented by a digital surrogate such as a UNIMARC record, to a multimedia online content.

Milestones:
First milestone at month 12 is reached when the MESMUSES system is integrated and fully tested in laboratory. Second milestone occurs at month 18 when the system is installed and operational at the science museum of Florence, and at the Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris. The second half of the project is devoted to on-site experimentation, evaluation, system improvements, and dissemination of results.
A methodology and associated support software for designing and deploying semantic maps for cultural and scientific domains. A technology enabling high-level specification of knowledge itineraries on top of semantic maps.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE RECHERCHE EN INFORMATIQUE ET EN AUTOMATIQUE
Address
Domaine De Voluceau
78153 Le Chesnay
France

Participants (8)

CITE DES SCIENCES ET DE L'INDUSTRIE
France
Address
30 Avenue Corentin-cariou
75930 Paris
ECOLE NATIONALE SUPERIEURE DES TELECOMMUNICATIONS DE BRETAGNE
France
Address
Technopole De Brest-iroise
29285 Brest
EDW INTERNATIONAL SRL
Italy
Address
Via Abamonti 2
20129 Milano
FINSIEL - CONSULENZA E APPLICAZIONI INFORMATICHE S.P.A.
Italy
Address
Via Rizzo Luigi 22
00136 Roma
FOUNDATION FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY HELLAS
Greece
Address
Vassilika Vouton
17671 Iraklio, Crete
ISTITUTO E MUSEO DI STORIA DELLA SCIENZA
Italy
Address
Piazza Dei Giudici 1
50122 Firenze
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI FIRENZE
Italy
Address
Piazza San Marco 4
50121 Firenze
VALORIS
France
Address
24/28 Rue Guynemer
92130 Issy Les Moulineaux