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Trial and evaluation of a Biodiversity Information System for public use in a natural history museum


In this project the Vorarlberger Naturschau, a natural history museum in Dornbirn (Austria), presents digital information about the distribution of animals and plants in Vorarlberg in a multimedia context. Via special software tools the user queries information about biodiversity, endangered species and ecological facts. A major goal is to combine processed database information with digital maps. The unique aspect of the project is the integration of well-established technologies (database management system, geographic information system and a leading edge multimedia front end) to create an attractive environment for user interaction. During the trial software and content is tested by school classes (together with their teachers) and daily visitors under predefined conditions. Evaluation of this process leads to dissemination and adapting the tools.

A multimedia user front end including a geographical information system is tested and evaluated in the context of querying information stored in the museums client-server database system. A major technical as well as didactic goal is to combine real museum artefacts and specimens (which represent our cultural heritage and biodiversity over time) and virtual collection objects with pre-filtered database information and digital maps in a way relevant to users interests, adding up to more than just the sum of the data already collected and services provided. This combination of tools enables problem-oriented, user-friendly access to topical data base information, which is replenished periodically and kept up-to-date. The users are to expect dynamically generated multimedia information such as maps, text, tables, pictures, sound.

Work description:
The workplan consists of three distinctive parts:

1. Development (WP1):
1.1 Development of the didactical concept;
1.2 Development of evaluation tools;
1.3 Development of the software prototype

2. Evaluation (WP2):
2.1 Testing the software;
2.2 Analysis and interpretation of the results

3. Exploitation and dissemination (WP3):
3.1 Informing the public about the TREBIS trial;
3.2 Public TREBIS Web site;
3.3 Organisation of final expert workshop; 3.4 Preparation, production and presentation of final report

4. Project Management (WP4) and subtasks of WP3 (Public information) to be carried out for the full duration of the trial

M1/Mo05 Didactic concept for software adaptation; elaborated tools for software evaluation.
M2/Mo07 Prepared and processed content: text, pictures, maps, sounds, videos, graphics, tables.
M3/Mo07 Software prototype for testing phase, including technical documentation and user guidelines.
M4/Mo12 Quantitative and qualitative results for software evaluation.
M5/Mo15 Interpreted evaluation results for specific software revision.
M6/Mo17 Dissemination and exploitation report.
M7/Mo18 Final Report to EC
In the TREBIS project, a regional natural history museum opens its digital archives to the public, attracting visitors by presenting on-site information about current processes in nature: the distribution of animals and plants, biodiversity, endangered species and ecological facts. An interactive multimedia user front end including a geographic information system is tested and evaluated in the context of querying information stored in a museum’s client-server database system. What sets this project apart is an approach that goes beyond existing information systems: The integration of technologies such as a database management system, a desktop mapping system/geographic information system (GIS) and multimedia technologies. The structure of TREBIS is based on a didactical concept, which addresses the main aspects of teaching biodiversity. Via a multimedia interface the user can navigate through the different modules of the information system, which are designed to address different personal interests. Whether you are interested in specific conservation issues or whether you just want to enjoy the beauty of nature TREBIS allows you to approach biodiversity from your personal view point.

- The Biodiversity section provides you with background information on this current issue. The impact of humans on nature, the commercial use of plants, the change of landscapes over time the principles of global and local biodiversity and a lot of additional exciting topics.
- You can also approach the topics via different habitat-types, by exploring forests, meadows, underwater landscapes, mountains or man-made habitats.
- A special section allows you to find detailed information about animals and plants including descriptions, photographs, videos and distribution maps.
- Via a map selection interface you can retrieve various types of thematic maps as well as aerial and satellite images.
- A search option helps you to find all data related to your query that is provided in the database or by TREBIS.
- In a quiz section you to travel with a submarine down to the bottom of lake Bodensee. You will encounter fish, asking questions about what you learned. A high-score list allows you to compete with other TREBIS visitors.

Call for proposal

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Dr.-hans-lechner str. 6
5071 Wals-siezenheim

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EU contribution
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Participants (2)