Leonhard Huber / Johann Stockinger

(Vienna / Austrian Computer Society, Vienna, Austria)

Online resources on computing technology and digital media for capturing, archiving and delivering of cultural heritage artifacts are countless. For an interested beginner, the field of humanities computing can hardly be overviewed. Information provision about cultural heritage informatics forms a multi- flavoured patchwork of online resources; most extensive contents are offered on portals of research institutes (DigiCULT), associations/expert networks (VL Museen; Archimuse), and university libraries (e.g. Cornell University Library Digital Initiatives).
Within its initiatives in the area society and culture, the Austrian Computer Society runs a forum entitled “Forum Kultur & Informatik”. In this context, lectures are regularly given on topics such as digital preservation, collection management etc. The forum is currently working on the conception of an extensive online presence.
Building on a student project, an online portal is evolving that tries fulfill a pathfinder function for beginners, intermediates, and professionals in the area of cultural heritage informatics. The project’s effort is two- fold: to develop an ontology for the field of humanities computing. And, based thereon, to provide the interested audience on the WWW with qualitative content in its topical context.
Starting with a selection of good-practice projects in digital cultural heritage, a model for a first-of- its-kind, comprehensive semantic network is being built up. It encompasses institutions, collections, experts, regions, information management and technology tools, and can be browsed and searched.
The portal’s technological basis is a generic, PHP scripting-driven Semantic Web application, retrieving its data from an RDF database. (The content of this knowledge base is authored with Protégé Ontology Editor.) The user interface offers convenient hierarchic and associative navigation via hyperlinks as well as a Boolean and fuzzy logic search mechanism to ease information retrieval. The portal also conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and tries to be barrier- free.

Keywords: online portal, cultural heritage informatics – humanities computing, Semantic Web