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Enabling Communities of Interest to Promote Heritage of European Regions


Many website and portal initiatives aiming to provide access to cultural content have failed.

The reasons are: inadequate sustainability; poor business models; a failure to enthuse associated communities; and insufficient benefit for the regions they support.
We address these problems through the development of Cultural Heritage Forums, associated to national or supranational regions, that empower communities of interest to create, own and sustain online cultural content for themselves.
Our model has three aspects: technical, financial and content related. Technical innovations include: ontology driven dynamic narrative, providing compelling stories according to visitor interests; navigation and exploration based on self-organising maps; and collaborative discovery tools for the creation of personal and communal archives.

Our strategic objectives are to enable communities to celebrate and explore regional heritage through Cultural Heritage (CH) Forums that allow active construction of narratives with digital content, adoption of forums by interested consortia, and have strong ties to the physical world, including regional commerce. CH Forums have an associated region that may be supranational. Our methodological objectives are to ensure long-term technical, content and financial sustainability, and articulate effective CH Forum launch strategies. Our technical objective is to develop the CIPHER toolkit, including ontology driven tools for dynamic narrative presentation, innovative navigation and exploration facilities, discovery tools for the creation of personal and shared spaces, language technology and interface templates for contextual media.

Work description:
The CIPHER consortium consists of 6 partners, four developer, one user, and one user/exploitation. The proposed project has a duration of 30 months. The CIPHER workplan is based on the Participatory Evolutionary Development model, whereby tool and methodology development are closely intertwined with application and testing. Application is assisted by a technology facilitator acting for each of the test sites, termed CH Forums, each covering a distinct European heritage region. The CH Forums are "Irish Cultural and Natural and Heritage", "Nordic Heritage through Storytelling and Historical Artefacts", "Shared Heritage of Central Europe" and "Tradition of technology innovation in South Central England". These four forums comprise the CH Forum Club. During the project three trails of increasing complexity will be undertaken at each CH Forum. The diversity of forums is essential to develop a sufficient range of solutions to formulate tools and methodology exploitable at a European level. Though the main project objectives are to develop the CIPHER methodology and toolkit, we expect that at the end of the project the trials will result in fully functional demonstrators.

The workplan consists of 12 workpackages (WPs). WP1 concerns project management. In parallel, WP11 investigates potential business models and sustainability strategies. WP6 covers structural knowledge representation from initial static narratives to dynamic narratives within a CH Forum lifecycle methodology. WP 3 concerns support for navigation and exploration. WP7 focuses on the development of a sustainable self-referential architecture and virtual world presentation technology for rendering content within narrative structures. WP4 provides support for communities of interest with particular emphasis on visitor initiated research and discovery. Other WPs cover initial tool integration, final toolkit development, trials and project evaluation.

Three CIPHER milestones are: All partners have the tools and infrastructure needed for the first set of trials (month 5), the first set of trials completed (month 12) the second set of trials completed (month 19).
Three major CIPHER results are: the CIPHER methodology, the CIPHER toolkit, four fully functional pilot applications in different domains of cultural heritage.

Call for proposal

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Walton hall
MK7 6AA Milton keynes
United Kingdom

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EU contribution
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Participants (5)