The Artificial Intelligence and Learning Systems (AILS) Laboratory of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) has been a key technological member in the development of Europeana, the European Digital Library, since 2007.
We have developed the MINT system that has been used by Europeana and a large number of Europeana projects, for metadata interoperability, and that has been selected in 2011 as one of six beta sprints by the Digital Public Library of America. Moreover, we have developed the WITH system for Culture and Creativity, which performs intelligent cultural content discovery and aggregation, semantic content enrichment and provides users with the ability to re-use content, generate personal collections, exhibitions and stories. We have been carrying research on semantic interoperability (automatic metadata modeling, use of thesauri terms and ontologies), on big data analysis (analysis and extraction of useful data from unstructured data), human-computer interaction (personalized navigation and search services, data presentation, gaming).
During all these years we have had continuous interaction with the cultural heritage community. We have developed close collaboration with a large number of cultural heritage organizations, including museums, libraries, archives, galleries and audiovisual archives, as well as thematic content aggregators on fashion, photography, performing arts. Moreover, we have been involved in the organization of a variety of events, including crowdsourcing activities, interacting with artists, creators, experts, researchers, scholars, migrants, younger and older cultural heritage audiences.
We-Hope is a means to extend these interactions, through the aggregation and spread of memories, thoughts, fears and hopes of people that have lived difficult periods. This refers both to the past, especially related to the second world war, but also to the current period, where: large populations have to abandon their homes, due to local wars, and become immigrants, or where other external reasons, such as the current pandemia, Covid-19, changes the attitude and the way of people’s living all over Europe and worldwide.
In the We-Hope project AILS of NTUA is responsible for the project technical infrastructure, including content management and metadata interoperability, so as to ensure wide spread of the project developments through Europeana and other search mechanisms. We closely collaborate with partners performing content aggregation and generation, in Greece, Italy, UK and generally in Europe, so that:
we devise the best ways for making the access to this content easier;
we facilitate its creative re-use;
we make it easier for European and other audiences to understand the related effects on people’s culture and behaviors;
we help people in despair to see how a better future was obtained in the past in similar situations, or to see how other people face such cases, hoping that this will help them find the power to overcome the difficulties.