BI-BA/24-25-005, Conceptual Development of Data Spaces for Cultural Heritage

Head: Štefan Kohek

Time frame: 1. 1. 2024 - 31. 12. 2025

For centuries, decision-makers have been aware of the importance of preserving cultural heritage. In recent decades, the explosive development of digital technologies has opened up new opportunities for the preservation of cultural heritage through the digitization of cultural heritage. It is now possible to represent cultural heritage in the form of texts, photographs, videos, 3D models and point clouds as digital twins of artifacts. On the one hand, digitization allows for a more successful preservation of cultural heritage, as the digital records are not subject to gradual degradation and museums do not need to display original artifacts which improves the accessibility of cultural heritage for a wider range of people. Over time, more and more data in the form of photographs, videos, point clouds, 3D models, etc. is being produced.
Cultural heritage data sources are often scattered in different museums and other data repositories, making them inaccessible to a wide range of people. The centralization and integration of all heterogeneous data sources in the form of a national repository would allow for a better overview of data sources, but on the other hand would require immediate semantic integration and thus high initial costs. In addition, the rapid development of technology brings new heterogeneous data types and data recording methods, which requires continuous integration.
Data Spaces have been rapidly deployed at European Union level in recent years and are the cornerstone of the European Commission's European Data Strategy, as they allow more efficient data management. They do not require immediate semantic integration when new data sources are integrated, as integration is delayed until the level of actual data use. In this way, all data sources can be integrated into the data space at minimum cost. However, the lack of immediate semantic integration brings many challenges, as both the geo-spatial and the temporal aspects are often unexploited, making it difficult to search and query data, monitor changes, etc.
The proposed project aims to address aspects of integrated cultural heritage data management within data spaces. At a conceptual level, we will develop a data space for the purpose of managing cultural heritage data such as e.g. texts, photographs, videos, 3D models and point clouds of artifacts. In doing so, we will design programming interfaces to allow for the centralized management of scattered data sources in one place without immediate centralized semantic integration. At the same time we will support searching through the data in one place. We will concentrate especially on the spatial and temporal components of data. For example, the integration of data by position and time would allow relating the artifacts to a specific time period or place.