It is now available the new CULTURA environment, an innovative adaptive service that offers genuine user empowerment and unprecedented levels of engagement with digital cultural heritage collections and communities.
CULTURA will deliver innovative adaptive services and an interactive user environment which dynamically tailors the investigation, comprehension and enrichment of digital humanities artefacts and collections. Through the provision of such functionality, CULTURA can empower all users to investigate, comprehend and contribute to digital cultural collections.
CULTURA is currently being evaluated and validated in the context of two representative digital collections. The 1641 Depositions are a collection of XVII century manuscripts that comprise witness statements, examinations and associated materials related to a rebellion by the Catholic Irish in October 1641. The Imaginum Pativinae Scientiae Archivum (IPSA) is a digital archive of illuminated manuscripts, both astrological and botanical codices, produced from the IX to the XV century.
Powerful algorithms are employed to automatically extract entities and their relationships from the content in order to highlight the key individuals, events, dates and other entities and relationships. From there, the tools developed by the team analyse the connections between entities and relationships within the content - developing a kind of historical social network that helps place historical events and figures in context and makes them much easier to visualise and comprehend.
The approach works not only with text-based content, such as the '1641 Depositions', but also with images. In this case, metadata associated with the images, and annotated during digitisation, is used to provide semantic meaning - a process being used by the CULTURA team to analyse the Imaginum Patavinae Scientiae Archivum (IPSA) collection now held at the University of Padua in Italy.
Significantly, the CULTURA system provides not just content-aware adaptivity depending on the materials being studied, but it also adapts to the needs of each user and user community, taking in account the level of his interest and knowledge.