Content Production & Use In Museums Using RFIDbased Interfaces

David Fuschi1, Annalisa Bini , Roberto Grisley2, Lorenzo Sutton2, Laurence Pearce3,
2
1

GIUNTI Labs, Via Portobello Abbazzia dell’Annunziata, 16039 Sestri Levante (GE), Italy d.fuschi@giunti.it 2 Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Fondazione, l.go Luciano Berio 3, 00196 Roma, Italy {a.bini, r.grisley, l.sutton}@santacecilia.it 3 XIM Ltd, Chase Green House, 42 Chase Side Postal Code EN2 6NF, Enfield, UK laurence@xim.co.uk

Abstract. The current paper provides details on the set-up of the demonstration scenario to be used in a cultural heritage environment with the support of the AXMEDIS tools. The devised scenario addresses filtered access to content held into museum repositories using smart tags technology and tactile manipulation. Proper balance between push of information triggered by interaction with ambient tags and pull of further information triggered by user interaction via tangible interface enables a totally new experience in the museum context. Furthermore adoption of AXMEDIS framework enables the possibility to achieve a distributed production scenario for semi-automated, template-based content production where satellite broadcast is used to handle geographically dispersed, synchronized updates, while peer to peer is used for sporadic updating. Keywords: Content production, RFID-based interfaces, Museum.

1 Introduction
In the scope of AXMEDIS project [1] several demonstrators have been defined in particular one has been designed to prove that a highly advanced technological infrastructure could be adopted and combined within a cultural heritage based scenario to properly address and satisfy both the emerging needs of visitors for more engaging and active experiences and those of the cultural institutions for better exploiting and organization of available resources within a rather relevant set of constraints. The devised scenario addresses filtered access to content held into museum repositories using smart tags technology [7] and tactile manipulation. In other words visitors can wonder around the museum either following a sort of “predefined/suggested” path or according to their mood and will [8-23]. The system can detect their location and send in push some basic information. The user can select weather to use it or ignore it. In case the provided information is are of user’s interest it is possible to easily ask for

etc) – characterized by: artist. It will also be possible to generate “gallery” objects for artists and masterpieces of the chosen period. given a theme (for example XX century. GIUNTI’s collection basically comprises content on artists. as will be better detailed later on. • Masterpieces (instruments. 2 Content sources and their usage In the exposed context [1]. masterpieces and the various periods and moods in history of art. the common factor being the focus on cultural heritage. . we have identified two major sets of contents. description.) it will be possible to generate individual objects for available “artists” matching the period or their work. musical instruments. audio or visual descriptions of artists. etc) – characterized by: name. authors or artists. by simply using the provided radio frequency identifier (RFID) equipped triggers. dates and list of masterpieces. According to the previously defined “Content Factory” production approach. Thus several combinations may apply given the fact that each of such descriptions may be complemented by the others and interact with them in different manners depending on the specific purpose the author wants to achieve. and description • Context – characterized by: date. In the available collection the main characteristics are related to textual. music. ethnomusicology and other cultural aspects. one internal to GIUNTI and one internal to Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (ANSC). ANSC ones are cantered on musicians. masterpieces and context. etc. produced objects could be easily connected with specific events and other objects such as recordings. and list of major artists. date. concerts. In terms of content production we have envisaged a range of aggregation processes that will be performed to combine available content (which is inherently rather static and stable) into derived contents that could provide the required level of dynamics required by the demonstrators. Baroque. while peer to peer is used for sporadic updating. following the periodic program that will be defined on a monthly base by ANSC. that could fit into the selected theme and available content. The adoption of AXMEDIS framework enables the possibility to achieve a fully distributed production scenario where content is prepared in a “Content Factory” on the basis of an agreed production plan in a semi-automated and template-based manner and then distributed via satellite broadcast to handle geographically dispersed and synchronized update. it was possible to define a common set of content classes by grouping available information in: • Artists (musicians. music. title. etc.more. In more detail. Available data collections are quite diverse. Thanks to such balance between push of information (triggered by interaction with ambient tags) and pull of further information (triggered by user interaction via tangible interface) enables a totally new experience in the museum context. Given the fact that the demonstrator will be hosted at ANSC it seems natural to start from their collections and to arrange periodic content aggregation.

Yet it is worth recalling that each content producer usually develops a well-defined company image (branding) based on a well studied combination of page layout. In terms of layout we have basically identified a couple of main template formats. save. For both page formats (PC and PDA) a specific structure has been defined given the relevant difference in size and aspect ratio (90° rotation and 40% reduction in size). links between portions of the same page (anchors) are turned into links between pages (URLs). etc. if performed manually. Therefore a typical content page holds a set of contents comprising: title. The adopted approach has been to have a single filtering and adaptation step. Now passing from PCs to PDAs implies: • Lower display area • Lower computational power • Lower image quality • Smaller fonts • Worse anti-aliasing • Scroll-bars / page tabs • Different content distribution Content is very likely to be shrunk given the change in: areas’ sizes (to retain the same content) and location of certain specific content. Additionally all these templates could include audio support (in terms of both spoken text and background music). body text (resizable and scrollable in the display area). The first template (Content oriented) refers to content that mainly comprises a balanced mix of text and images and could refer to: an author (life of an . This process. were content is derived directly from the original by filtering (via user preferences) and adapted on the basis of device dependencies. a quick navigation bar (if needed to allow content browsing) and potentially comprising (or associated with) a control bar (to allow overall content management: print. namely PC (with an indicative size of 800 x 600) and PDA/Smart-phone (with an indicative size of 320 x 240). which primarily differ in the basic kind of presented contents and in its distribution. format and layout Given the specific needs of the trials [1] only two different page formats will be taken into account. including the return to “top of page” as the way content is browsed changes from Scrolling to Paging and vice-versa. is long. it was agreed to consider (X)HTML-based or SMIL [24] content. both are based on the basic look and feel that could meet the expectations of an average visitor of the “Auditorium Parco della Musica” (in Rome) where the kiosk-related trial [1] will be hosted. yet this has been possible by adopting specifically designed supportive production facilities provided by AXMEDIS to adapt and optimize the rendering aspect of content via a programming approach. time consuming and potentially error prone as it could lead to programming problems such as “dead links”. Furthermore it may be necessary to split a page into several ones. To accommodate multi-device interactive content fruition in the exposed scenario there are several approaches depending on user preferences and delivery/device constraints. colours. [2]. Moreover at content rendering time (be it server or client side) it must be taken into account that when passing from a single page to a set of pages. type-fonts.) and a footer usually holding copyright information. styles. etc.3 Content aspect. some multimedia (with related controls when needed). As far as content format is concerned. sub-title (if needed).

When a user would enter one of the defined areas a set of contents would be delivered. similarly the text could hold hyperlinks to other content or objects depending on authors’ taste and available content. content available at the exhibit would be made accessible through the system and directly related to physical objects and locations. Once this test-object matches the original requirements. craftsmen. a collection of image thumbnails (each corresponding to a link to another object/resource) plus a set of links to other objects depending on the actual page content. artists etc. performers. revise or complement it. Thus museum staff will access the content to update.e. etc). Both presented templates can be used to generate different objects via rules. functions. there is a title. Notable experiments related to usage of sensors have been conducted and are already in place along with many other initiatives aiming at turning museums visits into amusing experiences [8-23]. In this fashion. Also in this template. We have tried to achieve a full integration of the various components of the value chain in a single stream where content owner also be-come both producers and distributors and their content is accessed and used in different manner according to the person interacting with it within a specific context. being able to parse it and replace parameters with actual values through specific string match and replace operations) is created and validated. The process is rather simple. The user would be able to decide whether or not to use the provided infor- . there is almost no usage of them as a means for empowering an intuitive. thus providing a visually oriented approach to a collection of content. especially in a museum or cultural institution environment. the masterpieces of an author or the authors of a period. while visitors will access to the same content adequately formatted and delivered for their use. easy-to-use. of craftsmanship. First of all a model test-object. a specific set of rules has been implemented. The second template (Gallery oriented) refers to a gallery of objects that could either represent masterpieces. is manually produced. an image area and a text area plus a set of links to other objects that depend on the actual content of the page (i. craftsmen. links and effects) of the desired template. The image (video or animation) could also be linked to additional pages. This template has a basic structure. 5 Environment set-up At development time while usage of Radio Frequency Identifiers (RFID) in commercial applications is well-established. etc). Then a specific rule to handle the template (i. modify. and amusable way to interface users with a back-end. a masterpiece (of art. etc. To interconnect the backend to the user in seamless fashion using RFIDs it was necessary to insert RFIDs data into the metadata structure. for reference we suggest to check the related AXMEDIS Content Processing documentation [1].author). artists etc. that presents the same characteristics (in terms of AOI. of music. The location aspect is twofold as there is information related to object location and information related to user location. authors. consisting of a title.e. it is turned into a template by parametrising its references. or a period and its masterpieces. performers. all this in a seamless manner with location-based and contextualized content access. of a certain period or artistic movement. To demonstrate this. mostly dealing with asset management. the authors.

In the museum environment objects will be tagged with RFIDs. access to scores or other data related to their own performance in the current activity. or any other available text or image. feedback…).This tag would be used to ask the system information about the specific location of the user or of an object.This tag would cause the system to provide navigation indication and support to reach a specific location at the exhibit. related data would be delivered and made available. Thanks to RFIDs we are implementing a simple way to interact with the backend. A logical path to be followed will be devised in order to gain the most out of the visiting experience (a possible path is presented in the . modify content.users would need to use this tag to obtain a printed version of some content. modify.this tag would be used to add a note. workstations available at exhibit will provide access to further information sources and content and Users will be equipped with palmtop devices. It would bring up support information depending on context and/or performed operation. printing and storing content. • Details . What implemented in ASTRAL presents the following characteristics: • Allows users to easily trigger complex operations. sources to be exploited in the search phase accessible via the system. • Navigate . • Question / help .users had to use this tag to explicitly require the system for further details on the current topic.This tag would enable users to fill-in questionnaires (satisfaction. In case additional data was needed: users were prompted consequently.This tag would provide help to the user. The process would be repeated each time the user changed environment. searching. the most relevant are here reported: • Access . or help topic. • Will be easily extendible to other contexts. • Strengthens the advantages of location-based and context-aware content delivery. • Locate . The system will then automatically load login data. Whenever the user would interact with tagged objects. • Provides users with intuitive tools for browsing.users placed this tag onto the reader then the system required authentication data. These objects were equipped with special RFIDs recognized as “keys” for specific operations (in general linked to the set of defined triggers). For ASTRAL we created a set of objects functional to exhibit management. • Save .this tag was used to request the system to store current content.This tag would allow users to access personal data. add or delete it. context or perform interaction with the environment.mation and even to request for more or perform searches. • Write . • User . • Form . It would also allow: profiling. • Avoids the need for a specific usage of mouse and keyboard. input data and all other operations requiring input. based on the results achieved in WEBKIT ASTRAL demonstrator [7] where we developed what could be called a user cantered Physical Query Language (PQL) based on the analysis of experiences and studies previously performed [3-6]. • Print .

yet visitors will be able to follow a different path according to their taste (as previously mentioned). Then a master template would be designed to handle content structuring and language-management related issues. RFID reader and tags. Then the content structural template should be localized (if needed) and the newly localized language-dependent resources (including related tem-plate stylesheets) could be linked together. edit the same content in specific languages adapting it to their needs. The Environment. thus resulting in objects differing in language and format but not in content.picture and Xs represent the expected interaction points). Thus once selected the language. The multi-lingual issue Content (as well as related metadata) often originates in several languages. used PDA. Finally. Actually this could be also achieved with the production of a single object holding the different languages (and related formats) within a single structure. through co-editions. an Interaction Path. all content (includ- . The process would be implemented as follows: firstly a set of templates would be designed for each content component ensuring full conformance to a functional-based design approach. stored resources could be easily localized and saved. 1. At this point content could be edited in a master form and stored. Fig. publishers would.

“The Graphics of Communication: Methods. (2001). R. Ørbæk.axmedis. 1993. Agger Eriksen. 3. left to right. 6 Conclusion and future work What being implemented is an interesting example of convergence between emerging and established technologies within a well defined scenario related to both cultural heritage and content production / fruition value chain. With the same template an actual multi-language object can be created where the navigation structure is consistent among languages and component-specific resources are those related to the selected language..10-19. Acknowledgments: the authors would like to thank both WEBKIT and AXMEDIS project partners including the Expert User Group and affiliated members. Pittman.. AXMEDIS: Automating Production of Cross Media. M. R. In the presented approach the adoption of a double level of templates is proposed. Turnbull.. yet with many possible future extensions. the site management and the visit experience. Functional templates. Media. J. D. This way resources can be accessed in the same manner from each “language-dependent structure” thanks to the “functional template” approach in which resources are referenced and represented by objects external to the template itself (title as well as labels/buttons are referenced and taken form external resource files). etc) and operate the language-related path selection. “'Physical Hypermedia': Organising Collections of Mixed Physical and Digital Material”. The current stage of development allows accommodating additional results coming from AXMEDIS progresses as well as evolutions of what originally developed in ASTRAL. A specific acknowledgment goes to the European Commission IST DG INFSO for the partial funding of WEBKIT and AXMEDIS projects.H. . In the base level of the structural template (T0) it will be possible to place all contentspecific characteristics that are language-dependent like the text direction and orientation (right to left. used to give form to content components. top to bottom. pp.F. A.. http://www. B..org/ [Last accessed: 02/05/2007] 2.. while structural templates allowing access to resources depending on the selected language compose the second layer. 4. referred objects can have the same name but be located in different paths depending on the language. Ullmer. McDonald.ing navigation/GUI elements) could appear to the user localized in a totally transparent and consistent fashion thanks to the fact that implied resources would have been collected from all those available depending on the selected language. Kristensen. Content for Multi-channel Distribution.N. H. The next challenge will be the full integration among the automation of the production process. Grønbæk. Baird. References 1. 579-601. UK. and Technology”. Addison-Wesley. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Proceedings of the 14th ACM conference on Hypertext and hypermedia. 6th ed. Ishii... (2003). P.. Nottingham. “Emerging Frameworks for Tangible User Interfaces”. pp. in Human-Computer Inter-action in the New Millennium. compose the first level. K.

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