A Social Collaborative Platform for History

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has title::Towards Cultural Heritage Communities Online: Design Rationale
status: finished
Master: project within::Information Sciences
Student name: student name::Ardjan van Nuland
Dates
Start start date:=2012/01/16
End end date:=2012/07/31
Supervision
Supervisor: Marieke van Erp
Second supervisor: Lora Aroyo
Thesis: has thesis::Media:MSc_Thesis_-_Ardjan_van_Nuland_-_2107856.pdf‎
Poster: has poster::Media:ThesisDesign_1.0.pdf

Signature supervisor



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Abstract

Web technology enables cultural heritage institutions to provide access to their collections to anyone interested. However, in order to be able to interpret and analyze collection objects online, a contextual representation is necessary. This research explores whether existing communities can be addressed in order to complement this context, and evaluates an event-centered representation of objects. The first study comprised of a focus group session with 5 people having roots in the Dutch Indies. We collected information about their sense of community, and how they shared their memories with others. In the second study, 22 pairs of high school pupils we asked to answer a historical question using an event-based collection browser. We analyzed their answers on the question and collected feedback on their experiences. The main results from the focus group indicated that witnesses of historical events have a strong sense of community with their peers. They share their memories by visiting schools, making art, and in books. They see it as their duty to continue doing this both offline and online. Results of the user study show that event-based representation is successful for finding the right objects, as a skeleton for answering a historical question. However, additional contextual background information is necessary for pupils to answer the question sufficiently. To evolve the Agora collection browser into a social platform, the construction of narratives should be emphasized. Enabling users to add, rate and review external sources should provide background information on objects and events. Finally, supporting witnesses and interested lay people to share their own narratives, enriched with text and images, brings more context and information into the platform, giving new insight to all participants.