Turning European Heritage Into Personalized Experience

How can information and communication technology help make museums accessible to anyone anywhere? How could the «digital encounter' with cultural artifacts be improved to engage visitors, provide personalized storytelling and adaptive guidance, bridging the physical and the digital worlds? These are some questions that international participants of the meeting on the Horizon 2020 Call «Virtual museums and social platform on European digital heritage, memory, identity and cultural interaction» recently discussed in Belgium.

Университет ИТМО. Мероприятие в Брюссельском офисе

Hosted by ITMO University's Representative Office in Brussels on 19−21 January 2016, the conference about the future of virtual museum technologies brought together experts from Poland, Italy, Spain, UK, Belgium, Germany, France and Ireland.

Dmitry Mouromtsev, the Head of the International laboratory «Information Science and Semantic Technologies» (ISST), the Chair of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics of ITMO University, and Dmitry Pavlov, a member of the ISST lab participating in the European consortium, contributed their expertise in data visualization, cognitive data presentation and domain ontology modeling to the project proposal for the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Call «Virtual Museum».

The Coordinator of the Consortium Dr. Piotr Czekalski from the Silesian University of Technology in Poland said:

«By now, the consortium consists of five universities, five ICT companies and a number of museum partners from all over Europe. It means that more than a dozen of experts have been interacting on the project idea and technical details by Skype almost every day for several months. The conference in Brussels is a great opportunity for all consortium members to meet each other personally and to complete the most important part of the creative process efficiently.»

Having elaborated on interdisciplinary topics rooted in ICT, data science and semantics as well as virtual and augmented reality, participants managed to formulate what end-user experience they would like to provide to visitors of the Virtual Museum Platform, how to stimulate content producers to be actively involved in creating and distributing massive amounts of digitized cultural heritage and how to integrate unique expertise of participants into a disruptive virtual museum ecosystem.

Konstantine Karczmarski, the Advisor to the ITMO University's Department of Innovations, the project's co-author and a supervisor of ITMO's participation in the consortium, commented:

«During two intense and truly immersive days of the conference we managed to compose a project that will be the foundation of an entirely new ecosystem for the interaction of society with cultural heritage. We have covered and connected all aspects of museums' digital content market place and all units of the value chain that includes production, post production, distribution, consumption and monetization, which seems to be an unprecedented result for such a short time frame. It was a very inspiring meeting of like-minded people working together towards a common goal — to create one of its kind virtual museum platform for all cultural organizations in Europe».

The conference was the final meeting of the consortium before submitting their research project application to the European Commission in early February 2016.

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