Sunday, 10 July 2011

Visualisation of the Arts

I was in London earlier this week to present a paper at the Electronic Visualisation and the Arts conference (EVA 2011) co-sponsored by the Computer Arts Society and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. EVA  focuses on the development and application of electronic visualisation technologies, including art, music, dance, theatre and the sciences and I was asked to go along to talk about the work we have been doing with Deep Visuals Ltd and Anglia Ruskin University to develop new ways of presenting hidden collections. 

We demonstrated ViziQuest, which has been developed using resources from the Polar Museum, Library and Archive. A touch screen version is installed in the Museum for visitors to browse photos from the British Arctic Air Route Expedition, but an online demo is also available.

Screen shot from the ViziQuest demo

Deep Visuals approached me with a request for resources to be tested for a new product under development using an East of England Development Agency grant. I got involved because the initial project tied in closely with my classification research interests and it was immediately obvious that it had the potential to provide a new means of access to large photographic collections for museum visitors. I had already developed the underlying ontology, which enables the browser to select linked images of interest without the need to type in keywords, as part of our Freeze Frame project, where it forms a basis for the image subject metadata.

If you'd like to know more, you can read the preprint, Semantic Browsing: A New Way to Explore and Discover Heritage Treasures. I'd welcome some feedback. We've gone on to develop an extension of the program for schools use and added extracts from film and sound archives, as well as images from manuscripts to a second image set, created to accompany a special exhibition on the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-37. We'll be looking at ways of using the web version as we begin to develop a new web site for the Polar Museum later this summer.

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