Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - OCS, 15th INTERNATIONAL ISKO CONFERENCE

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Luciana de Souza Gracioso, Letícia Reis da Silveira, Maria da Graça Simões, Luzia Sigoli Fernandes Costa

Last modified: 2018-06-20


Introduction: The study identifies to what degree some of the online systems available for organizing and retrieving photos include some of the main categories related to thematic processing of photographs in their user search interface, as researched and reported in the literature of Brazilian Information Science, but which were developed from an international methodological framework. Among these systems, special attention was given to the analysis of Virtual Memory, a software developed within the Project “Criteria and Methodologies to perform the Paulista Cultural Rural Heritage inventory”, financed by FAPESP, Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil, which proposes the construction of a standard description of information covering specific fields for the processes of indexing cultural heritage images. The objective of the Virtual Memory construction project is to protect and make available all types of knowledge related to historic farms, including photographs. In this context, parallel to the study of image organization systems, this research provides assistance for detailed guidance with regard to indexing historic photographs of the Brazilian Rural Heritage. A photograph registration simulation was performed using the Virtual Memory software in order to define whether it includes guidelines for organizing photographs defined by the Information Science, and thus validate it as an organization and retrieval information tool for this field.

Objective: The main objective of this work it: (i) create, from the organization methods of images in the field of Information Science a tool to analyze some of these systems, termed as “Observation and Analysis Guideline”; (ii) characterize the selected information systems, applying the guideline in the search and retrieval user interfaces, performing an analysis from the user’s perspective, obtaining new parameters that were possibly not suggested in the methodologies studied; (iii) includes applying the guideline in the Virtual Memory software in order to validate the categories developed for the description of cultural heritage aspects (however, focused on the photos), verifying that they meet the main practices suggested by the literature and, if necessary, provide parameters that can assist in the processing and retrieval of images by the system.

Methods: This work is defined as exploratory research because in the study of images it strove to analyze and define the best practices regarding the processing of this type of information system made available to users, while identifying such practices in the systems selected. Besides being an exploratory research it can also be defined as research-intervention, because one of its objectives regards the analysis and suggestion of possible parameters for enhancing the Virtual Memory. Methodologically, this is a bibliographic and documentary exploratory research, partly developed with intervention research actions and using participant observation to collect data. Given the observation feedback of the guideline developed for systems analysis, following this introduction, the detailed methodological approach developed is presented. It is also considered a literature research because it aimed to retrieve scientific knowledge on a particular topic in national and international databases, the organization of information focused on images. The study had as theoretical support the cultural and user warrants of Begthol (2002); the indexing definitions of Lancaster (2004) and Boccato (2009, 2011); and the methodologies of organization and representation of images elaborated by the National Library (1998), by Manini (2002), Maimone (2007), Torezan (2007), Costa (2008) and Martinez (2009). This theoretical support enabled the definition of parameters for the elaboration of the guideline for observation and analysis of Virtual Memory.

It should also be clarified that to apply the observation guideline, the analyses were condensed. Three main axes were analyzed: the academic scope (systems developed by higher education institutions), the institutional scope (systems developed by institutions dealing with cultural heritage information), and the social scope (systems developed for photo registration on Web environments). These institutions were all analyzed at global, national and local levels.

For the institutional scope, at the global level, the Corbis platform was chosen; for the national scope, the patrimonial information system of the Casa de Rui Barbosa Foundation; and for the local scope, the Software of Support to Integrated Communication developed by the Coordination of Social Communication of UFSCar, the SACI. For the academic scope, the collective catalog Visual Information Access, from Harvard University, was chosen for the national level, the Dedalus platform, from the University of São Paulo, and at the local level, and the Florestan Fernandes Fund, from the Community Library of UFSCar, at the local level. To conclude, Flickr's interactive and open virtual platform was chosen for the social scope in the three levels as it is one of the most complete online tools for social photo sharing.

Main results and conclusions:

As a result, a guideline was developed to diagnose the image representation practices, which was later validated and used to evaluate the Virtual Memory. The Table 1 summarizes the results of applying the guideline in the systems chosen for the analysis, now including the results of applying the Virtual Memory. The categories are separated in the three analysis dimensions, using “S” and “N” which mean “Yes” and “No”, respectively:

Table 1 - Summary table containing the guideline’s application results in the systems analyzed

Besides the traditional fields available for advanced searches, such as authors, titles, locations, dates and subjects, the analysis of the Corbis system interface showed a multitude of types of searches that can further optimize the results for the photographs in the system, such as filters that determine the surveys by the color of the photos, number of people in the photo, gender, age, ethnicity, types of images (photographs, illustrations...), image orientation (horizontal, panoramic, square, vertical...), style (outdoors, indoors, silhouette...), visualization (head and shoulders, full body, empty space, cropped image...), panorama (aerial view, bottom view, top view, looking at the camera, looking away from the camera...), besides further refining the results, looking for photographs similar to that found, or using the keywords employed for indexing the image as a source for new searches. These are some of the interesting examples found throughout the study and which could enhance the search for historic photographs of the Virtual Memory software, through the evaluation and definition of its needs. In other words, these are just a few things to be considered, while also considering their feasibilities and possibilities within the system.



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