Catalogues numériques. Vers l’interopérabilité (February 5, 2019)

Ecole normale supérieure, Paris, Tuesday, 5 February 2019

45 rue d’Ulm, Paris.
Salle de l’Institut d’Histoire moderne et contemporaine (Stair D, last floor).


Organizers: Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel, ENS-PSL, and Nuria Rodríguez-Ortega, University of Málaga.

Over the past ten years, there has been an increasing number of digital projects using catalogues: exhibition catalogues, sales catalogues, catalogue raisonnés, museum catalogues, – and of course library catalogues. All seem to focus on different and complementary data, but the step of interoperability and sharing remains a horizon. How to ensure the interoperability of these databases? Whatever the languages and writings?

Our workshop aims at exploring ways to propose a common solution that will allow these corpora to dialogue, especially as far as exhibition and auction catalogues are concerned. Researchers must be able to exchange and compare their data, regardless of the structure of their catalogue databases, and regardless of the digital solutions adopted to build them (database, semantic web, TEI). The workshop aims at defining the steps that will lead to a connected ecosystem of arts-related catalogues.

Sessions will be open to all. Contact: Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel (


9:15–9:45: Coffee

9:45-10:00: Introduction

Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel (ENS, the Artl@s Project).

Biblissima: Connecting Manuscript Collections

Anne-Marie Turcan-Verkerk (EPHE, IRHT) et Régis Robineau (EPCS Campus Condorcet · Biblissima).


Developing an International Standard Manuscript Identifier (ISMI) – the case of Diktyon (Digital network for Greek manuscripts).

Matthieu Cassin (IRHT, CNRS).


How to Bridge the Isolated Silos of Knowledge Using Associative Search?

Akihiko Takano (National Institute of Informatics / University of Tokyo)

Keyword search dominates current user environments for finding information in the exploding cyberspace. But the simple combination of keywords is often insufficient to express our intention of search. We desperately need more sensible way to express our wish for information in search. Thus we have proposed so called “Associative Search” where a query is a collection of documents and the ranked collection of related documents is returned as the result. Full relevance feedback can naturally be realized by repeating the associative searches after modifying the selection. Statistical metrics for measuring distance among documents and words are defined, which provides the mathematically and computationally sound basis for association.

The information stored separately in libraries, museums, archives, and other facilities for cultural memories are not connected each other and usually isolated as silos. Associative search, which does not require the uniform structure of metadata, is especially useful to bridge these isolated silos of knowledge. We promote the research on information technology that enables the linkage between the unified cultural information and the memories or knowledge in broader areas.

We have created several services equipped with associative search, such as Webcat Plus, Cultural Heritage Online and Shinshomap. They can easily be federated by “IMAGINE technology” which dynamically coordinates these independent sources using associative search. IMAGINE can provide a field of association where the user can create the context for information he wants, which helps users to be inspired in very individual way.

Our reading environment PONGEE is a variation of IMAGINE interface. The displayed pages are automatically indexed with selected dictionaries or Wikipedia, and the sidenotes are created dynamically. Some sidenotes are just the dictionary lookup, but others are the results of associative search using the displayed pages. We discuss the implication of using PONGEE for browsing various kinds of catalogues.

Prof. Dr. Akihiko Takano is a Professor at the National Institute of Informatics in Japan. Prior to joining NII in 2001, he had worked at research laboratories of Hitachi, Ltd. for almost 20 years. He holds B.A. in Mathematics and Ph.D. in Computer Science, both from the University of Tokyo. Since 2002, he is also a professor at Department of Computer Science, the University of Tokyo. Since 2016, he is also a visiting professor at National Museum of Ethnology in Japan. His research interests are functional programming, program transformation and informatics of association.

Prof. Takano has been enthusiastic about building the associative information services based on Generic Engine for Transposable Association (GETA/GETAssoc), such as Webcat Plus, Book Town Jimbou, Shinshomap and IMAGINE Book Search. His team is responsible for Japanese Cultural Heritage Online since its beginning in 2004. The team also leads the development of various digital archive systems such as NHK’s Broadcasting Culture Archive, the Ad Museum Tokyo Advertising Archive, Japanese Animated Film Classics, etc.

12:30-14:00: LUNCH for participants


Recording art exhibitions: overview about practices, difficulties and potential solutions

Nuria Rodríguez-Ortega (University of Málaga) and María Poveda (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)

As the 21st century has progressed, art exhibitions have become a major focus of attention for a variety of fields: Art History studies, Art Market dynamics, leisure industries, museum agendas, etc. Consequently, the sources and resources that provide information about art exhibitions have grown exponentially in the last years. However, a large part of the digital information on art exhibitions appears semi-structured or completely unstructured, and the structures, when they exist -which do not always happen- are heterogeneous and very variable. What we find, then, is a complex scenario defined by a multiplicity of distributed sources, providing heterogeneous information –not always coinciding in the type of items considered-, with different levels of structuring. This diffused and unstable landscape is also a symptom of the great diversity that define the processes of description and documentation of art exhibitions, and an evidence of the lack of consensus about which type of information should be recorded and preserved.

The need to put into dialogue the digital resources and platforms built in the academic field as well as those developed by the cultural institutions in order to optimize the production of new knowledge impels us to critically examine how to overcome the current situation and which potential solutions could be adopted.

In light of the studies developed under the framework of the Exhibitium project (, our presentation will outline the main difficulties observed in the recording practices of art exhibitions and will propose potential solutions provided by the semantic web technologies.


Discussion on Possible Solutions for Catalogues’ Interoperability (moderator: Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel)


Conclusive Workshop: What identifiers?