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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Distributed Systems for Virtual Museums

Distributed Systems for Virtual Museums
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Author(s): Míriam Antón-Rodríguez (University of Valladolid, Spain), José-Fernando Díez-Higuera (University of Valladolid, Spain) and Francisco-Javier Díaz-Pernas (University of Valladolid, Spain)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 9
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch189


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The Internet has meant a social revolution, changing forever the way we communicate and how we access to the information. The growing expansion of technology and the development of easier applications have given as a result the high level of popularity achieved by Internet related services, especially the World Wide Web. Using a hypertext system, Web users can select and read in their computers information from all around the world, with no other requirement than an Internet connection and a browser. For a long time, the information available on the Internet has been a series of written texts and 2D pictures (i.e., static information). This sort of information suited many publications, but it was highly unsatisfactory for others, like those related to objects of art, where real volume and interactivity with the user, are of great importance. Here, the possibility of including 3D information in Web pages makes real sense. As we become an increasingly visual society, a way to maintain heritage is to adapt museums to new times. The possibility of not only visiting and knowing the museums nearby but also enabling anybody to visit the building from their homes could be enabled. This would imply the incorporation of the virtual reality (Kim, 2005; Vince, 2004), although today only a few museums allow this kind of visit via Internet. In virtual reality, human actions and experiences that interact with the real world are emulated although, obviously, with some limitations. With virtual reality, the user could walk, examine, and interact with the environment, in contrast to traditional media like television that present excellent graphics but lack interactivity. Although this is not a new idea, it is achieving a wider expression due to the availability of software standards like VRML and X3D. VRML, virtual reality modeling language (Carey, Bell, & Marrin, 1997) is a widespread language for the description of 3D scenes and WWW hyperlinks (an analogy of the HTML for virtual reality). X3D, Extensible 3D (Web3D Consortium, 2004) is the successor of VRML, it is intended to be the universal interchange format for integrated 3D graphics and multimedia. VRML/X3D are, perhaps, most interesting to Internet users eager to discover new interesting sites on the Internet, and for the people that use it like a hobby, but those could also allow us to see a 3D artifact from any angle and perspective, to turn it in any way, manipulate it (Lepouras & Vassilakis, 2005; Petridis et al., 2005)—something totally forbidden in a real museum. This work deals with the design of a system, which allows this interactive Web access to works of art in 3D, as a step in a research project dealing with the design and implementation of a virtual and interactive museum in 3D on the Web. Also, all the associated information like history, architectural data, archaeological data, and culture will be available at the click of a mouse.

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