Using standardized methods to present three-dimensional content on the web in the context of cultural heritage
Christian Derler, Joanneum Research, Austria
Otmar Moritsch, Technisches Museum Wien, Austria
Wolfgang Pensold, Technisches Museum Wien, Austria
Sandra Murg, Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Austria
Over the last few years, digital content has gained importance in cultural heritage institutions. Video and picture material is being digitized in order to manage the large amount of content with ease. Digital data can be administered using databases that allow the addition of meta information as well as manipulation of certain media (e.g. dust and flicker reduction on historic film material). Digitized versions of film and audio documents and digital images of objects (paintings, statues, architecture …) can also be used to attract a larger audience by making available previews of exhibitions on the Web.
One step further would be to allow walk-through virtual tours on-line. Those tours represent the real world exhibition to a certain extent. Visitors at home can experience a guided tour as though they were at a museum. In order to make those 3D worlds as accessible as possible, the use of standard methods is recommended.
This paper gives an overview of standards currently in use and their relevance in the presentation of cultural heritage. Also, one method is chosen for representing the digital content of a special exhibition at the Technical Museum Vienna. An important standard format for three-dimensional content on the Web used to be VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language). This has evolved into the XML based X3D. Another method of bringing three-dimensional content on the Web is Shockwave3D. These technologies are compared in terms of flexibility and usability.
To allow a curator easy development of virtual tours, an application was developed to support the procedure. The development process will be outlined, as well as how a prototypic client is used to access virtual exhibitions. The client uses standardized methods for the rendering of the three-dimensional scenes and also allows for interactivity.
Keywords: 3D, virtual exhibition, interactive, multimedia, presentation, software