Published: March 15, 2001.
Design and Analysis of Virtual Museums
Using the same data, which could come from local databases or external sources such as the Web, virtual museum designers can build different hyperspaces. It is possible that visitors would find some of them more useful than others. Therefore, virtual museums designers should be equipped with a tool by which various hyperspaces for virtual museums can be easily designed and examined.
In this paper, we view a virtual museum as a hypertext that consists of nodes and links and show that a database publishing tool called Lazy, which generates a hypertext view (i.e., derived hypertext) of a given database, can be used for designing virtual museums. The Lazy system consists of a declarative hypertext view specification language, a node schema compiler, and a node server that processes node requests. Since the language is purely declarative, it is fairly easy to construct and revise hyperspaces for a virtual museum. With this tool it becomes possible to adopt an iterative design methodology.
Given a database for a virtual museum, we first construct a hypertext using the procedure (Falquet & al., 1999) called an initial structure. We then proceed to analyze the initial structure and examine possible refinement operations that can enhance the usability of the created hypertext. For that purpose, we use a simple graph-based analysis and we show kinds of analysis that can be done using the graph-based approach. Once the structure is refined using the refinement operations, we apply grammar-based formalism (Park, 1998) to the refined structure to see whether we can obtain a simpler grammar that can generate the same hyperspace. Our goal is to explore various analysis techniques on the hypertext and give insights into designing a good hyperspace using the analysis results.