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Village Voice: A methodology, interface, and evaluation of the collection of cultural heritage material

TitleVillage Voice: A methodology, interface, and evaluation of the collection of cultural heritage material
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSrinivasan, R.
Secondary TitleInternational Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting: Proceedings from ichim03
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedÉcole du Louvre, Paris, France
EditorPerrot,(d. 2007), X.
Keywordsagent, architecture, collage, community, Dynamic Archive, ichim, ichim03, interactive, ontology, storytelling, Video Documentary

In this proposed paper, I discuss Village Voice, a methodology, interface, and archival system, that allows a community’s resources of cultural heritage to be shared actively and built upon as it grows over time. I present these three steps in the context of my M.S work (at the MIT Media Laboratory) and current ph.D research (at the Harvard Graduate School of Design). (1) Methodology - The methodology involves an understanding of new mechanisms by which a researcher can work with indigeneous and refugee communities that transcend the often limited boundaries of ethnographic survey. Instead, the focus is on enabling communities to articulate their own cultural material and a meta-language, or ontology, by which this material can be shared based on how the community itself articulates the relationships within its different pieces. (2) Agency and Interface - My current research involves trying to look at mechanisms to enable these ontology threaded systems to more intelligently communicate and express information to community members. The interface is based around my experiments with dynamic collage, which is able to reveal the complexity of the artifacts of a community because of how it can adapt to a user’s browsing history and the intricate relationships within the different cultural materials. (3) Evaluation - Finally, the archival mechanism and evaluation show how cultural material can re-circulate within the community that the project is centered around, and how an archive can grow to represent cultural resources as they adapt over time. In terms of evaluation, the submitted paper will reveal a study of my hypothesis that an ontology created by community members better facilitates the sharing of knowledge as compared to traditional methods of cultural archive. My contribution is a demonstration through methodology, interface, and evaluation that this model can be extended to preserve and share the cultural material of different communities. This evaluation is shared in the context of a Somali refugee community in which the system has been deployed. Finally, I will discuss the intriguing potential (related to my current doctoral research) of enabling these media archival systems to have a level of autonomy and intelligence that can be aided by the presence of artificial agents that facilitate the representation and communication of different information within the system.