Personalised Access to Cultural Heritage Spaces
PATHS is funded by the European Commission FP7 under Digital Libraries and Digital Preservation programme which started on January 1st 2010 and runs for three years.
Significant amounts of cultural heritage material are now available through online digital library portals. However, this vast amount of cultural heritage material can also be overwhelming for many users who are provided with little or no guidance on how to find and interpret this information. The situation is very different in museums and galleries where items are organised thematically and users guided through the collection.
The PATHS project will create a system that acts as an interactive personalised tour guide through existing digital library collections. The system will offer suggestions about items to look at and assist in their interpretation. Navigation will be based around the metaphor of a path through the collection. A path can be based around any theme, for example artist and media (paintings by Picasso), historic periods (the Cold War), places (Venice) and famous people (Muhammad Ali). Users will be able to construct their own paths or follow pre-defined ones.
The PATHS project will provide users with innovative ways to access and utilise the contents of digital libraries that enrich their experiences of these resources. This will be achieved by extending the state-of-the-art in user-driven information access and by applying language technologies to analyse and enrich online content. The project will take a user-centred approach to development to accommodate the needs, interests and preferences of different types of users.
The PATHS consortium contains six partners. Two academic institutions, Sheffield University and Universidad del Pais Vasco, and two SMEs, i-sieve technologies Ltd. and Asplan Viak Internet Ltd., bring experience in several technical areas (the presentation and processing digital content; understanding user profiles and requirements; search and language processing technologies) which is complemented with expertise in the cultural heritage domain provided by MDR Partners and Alinari 24 Ore Spa.