The PATHS System for Exploring Digital Cultural Heritage

Hall, Mark; Goodale, Paula; Clough, Paul and Stevenson, Mark (2014). The PATHS System for Exploring Digital Cultural Heritage. In: Proceedings of the Digital Humanities Congress 2012 (Mills, Claire; Pidd, Michael and Ward, Esther eds.), Studies in the Digital Humanities. Sheffield: The Digital Humanities Institute, 2014.



Over the past years large digital cultural heritage collections have become available, however access paradigms have not kept pace with this development and are still primarily constructed around simple keyword search. This works well for users familiar with the collections, but for new users who are unfamiliar with the collection they present a significant hurdle. The PATHS (Personalised Access To cultural Heritage Spaces) project addresses these issues by providing a novel framework for exploring large digital cultural heritage collections, built around the metaphor of a path through the collection. In this paper we present the initial user requirements analysis that was used to determine what a path is in the cultural heritage domain. From this we developed a conceptual model of path interaction, which was turned into a system design and implementation. Finally we present the evaluation of the resulting system and draw a number of conclusions as to what systems supporting exploration in digital cultural heritage collections must support to enable the users to satisfy their information needs.

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