CULTivating Understanding Through Research and Adaptivity - CULTURA is an EU FP7-funded Specific Targeted Research Projects (STReP) which is due to kick-off in February 2011 and will run for a period of three years.

A key challenge facing curators and providers of digital cultural heritage across Europe and Worldwide is to instigate, increase and enhance engagement with digital humanities collections. To achieve this, a fundamental change in the way cultural artefacts, such as the 1641 Depositions, are experienced and contributed to by communities is required. CULTURA will pioneer the development of next generation adaptive systems which will provide new forms of multi-dimensional adaptivity:

  • personalised information retrieval and presentation which respond to models of user and contextual intent
  • community-aware adaptivity which responds to wider community activity, interest, contribution and experience
  • content-aware adaptivity which responds to the entities and relationships automatically identified within the artefacts and across collections
  • personalised dynamic storylines which are generated across individual as well as entire collections of artefacts

The CULTURA consortium has a strong emphasis on meeting real end-user needs, maximising societal impact and laying a foundation for successful commercialisation. Thus, the project has a strong scientific foundation, informed by two significant digital cultural resources and associated communities, The 1641 Depositions from Trinity College Dublin and the Imaginum Patavinae Scientiae Archivum (IPSA) from the University of Padua. 

CULTURA advances and integrates the following key technologies:

  • Cutting edge natural language processing, which normalises texts that contain inconsistent spelling, nomenclature, punctuation etc.
  • Entity and relationship extraction, which highlights the key individuals, events, dates and other entities and relationships within unstructured text
  • Social network analysis of the entities and relationships within the content, and also of the individuals and broader community of users engaging with the content
  • Multi-model adaptivity to support dynamic reconciliation of multiple dimensions of personalisation

CULTURA will deliver innovative adaptive services and an interactive user environment which dynamically tailors the investigation, comprehension and enrichment of digital humanities artefacts and collections. Through the provision of such functionality, CULTURA can empower all users to investigate, comprehend and contribute to digital cultural collections.

CULTURA will provide rigorous evaluation and validation of its adaptive services using high impact, contrasting, multicultural digital cultural heritage collections and diverse user communities and individuals. The CULTURA use cases, defined in collaboration with real users, will clearly illustrate how the adaptive environment will offer genuine user empowerment and unprecedented levels of engagement with these collections and communities.