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Cultural Objects in Networked Environments

Objective

Empowering European citizens to tell their own stories lies at the heart of the COINE (Cultural Objects in Networked Environments) Project. It will provide the tools needed to create structured, World Wide Web-based environments which are hospitable to local cultural activity but which allow content to be shared locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The COINE software will provide facilities for rendering everyday objects - texts, images, sound files and so on - digitally. It will provide a framework for the creation and maintenance of descriptions (metadata) and dynamic links to other collections. The Project's findings will assist the development of standards for structured deployment and retrieval of digital resources in distributed networked environments. Demonstrations will test the application in different cultural settings across Europe, including among schoolchildren and citizens' groups.

Objectives:
Overall Objective:To create a generalised infrastructure for managed digital cultural domains which is exploitable as both a personal and a community space.

Specific Objectives:
1. To research the requirements of different groups and individuals for managed digital spaces for cultural purposes;
2. To develop a software infrastructure to enable cultural digital objects to be captured, stored, described, located, linked and maintained;
3. To develop a toolkit of software tools and techniques to enable such domains to be created, populated and maintained;
4. To validate and test the package in a number of challenging environments and in so doing to assess the environments required to ensure adequate quality control of content and description;
5. To develop a realisable exploitation plan and mechanisms for the COINE concept and product;
6. To disseminate the results of the Project across Europe and more widely;
7. To contribute to the development and acceptance of appropriate standards.

Work description:
The central concept of Cultural Objects in Networked Environments (COINE) Project is the creation of local web-based environments which are hospitable to local cultural activity, but which can be searched and otherwise manipulated in a regional, national and international setting. The cultural domain is not pre-determined, and could include text (e.g. poetry), art (e.g. paintings), music (e.g. local ethnic minority traditions), family history (genealogical records and objects of significance) and so on.

Objects within a COINE domain are representative of the chosen local culture and are controlled locally. In effect, COINE domains act as local art galleries, local archives, local museums, local history centres, and so on. The objects themselves may be in any kind of medium - for example: text, audio, 3D representations or photographs. The COINE system will provide a structured environment for these objects, including the core architecture and a toolkit of techniques and supporting software (e.g. for the creation of metadata). COINE demonstrators will be undertaken in a carefully-chosed, Europe-wide series of relevant and challenging implementations, including a project involving schoolchildren from across a member state (later expanding beyond that state to provide cross-Europe experiences) which, in its current non-ICT environment, has won national and European prizes for innovation, enabling children to select, store, describe and share physical artefacts of personal, usually family or community, significance.

In addition to its "showcase" functions, a COINE domain will optionally provide: access to experts; links to related domains; and a web-based discussion forum. COINE domains will also be capable of integration with organisations' existing web resources.

Milestones:
M1 (month 3) User Requirements Definition;
M2 (month 6) Functional Specification, Architecture Design, Organisational and Legal Environment;
M3 (month 15) Prototype SystemM5 (month 30) Completed Project.

Coordinator

THE MANCHESTER METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY
Address
All Saints Building, All Saints
M15 6BH Manchester
United Kingdom

Participants (6)

ENNIS INFORMATION AGE TOWN LTD
Ireland
Address
Quin Road Business Park
Ennis
FRETWELL-DOWNING INFORMATICS LIMITED
United Kingdom
Address
Brincliffe House, 861 Ecclesall Road
S11 7AE Sheffield
THE NATIONAL MICROELECTRONICS APPLICATIONS CENTRE LTD
Ireland
Address
Nihe Building, Plassey Technological Park
Limerick
UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA
Spain
Address
Avenida Tibidabo 39 - 43
08035 Barcelona
UNIVERSITY OF MACEDONIA ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
Greece
Address
Egnatia 156
54006 Thessaloniki
UNIWERSYTET JAGIELLONSKI
Poland
Address
Golebia 24
31-007 Krakow