The national museum collections on the semantic web

The University of Helsinki and Helsinki Institute of Information Technology (HIIT) have developed a joint web service for museums, and it has now been introduced for trial use.

Museum collections on the semantic web The demo version of the MuseoSuomi portal (MuseumFinland) presents a comprehensive online museum collection. The system is based on the new semantic web technology and is probably the first of its kind in the world.

“Electronic museum collections have been launched elsewhere, too, but what is particular about this project is that the different collections are interoperable thanks to semantic information retrieval,” says Professor Eero Hyvönen from the University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science.

Semantic information retrieval is not so much based on search words as it interprets and combines word meanings. Hyvönen envisions that the web service could provide a similar experience as going to a museum: in addition to exhibited objects, thematic compositions and the relationship between objects would play a part.

“The purpose is not to replace or imitate a traditional museum visit, but to give the public and researchers easier access to the collections,” says Hyvönen.

MuseoSuomi can be tried out at (in Finnish). The pilot website includes collections from three museums, and more museums will be added to the service in the near future.

For more information on the semantic web project, please visit the website of the research group.

Text and photo: Liisa Voutilainen


Translation: Valtasana Oy

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