Title:OPALES: An Environment for Sharing Knowledge among Experts Working on Multimedia Archives
Authors:Marc Nanard, Jocelyne Nanard, Henri Betaille
Publication:MW2001: Museums and the Web 2001

INA, the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel keeps records of national TV and radio production as French patrimonial archives. They are mainly accessed by specialists for research purposes, and by TV producers for inserting archive segments within new productions. INA and several others partners have initiated an R&D project, OPALES, to develop a distributed environment which enhances experts’ private work on multimedia archives and enables collaborative knowledge work on the Web. The challenge is to advance knowledge by building digital communities of experts who add value to the archival dataset by annotating items. The environment supports users working on multimedia archives, preserves their data in private workspaces, and helps them to share expertise. Each end-user accesses information within a private workspace. Any document (annotation as well as archive) is handled as a private copy which can virtually be annotated, indexed, linked to other information, edited to be inserted into new documents, and so on. Direct anchoring of annotations within audio or video is supported. To manage information and knowledge sharing, OPALES introduces the notions of an ‘authoring point of view’ which identifies annotation categories and of a ‘reading point of view’ which specifies which categories of annotations a reader wants to see. Any added piece of information always has an author and an ‘authoring point of view.’ To enable knowledge sharing, any user can ‘export’ a point of view to make some part of the elaborated knowledge available to others. Exporting a point of view consists of indexing it into the shared ontology to enable other experts to retrieve it easily and import it into their workspaces. A ‘reading point of view’ defines how a document is enhanced by annotations when presented. It is a mix of imported points of view. For instance, a researcher on sociology may ‘import’ (‘borrow’) the knowledge previously elicited and exported by economists, politicians, ethnologists, and so on, to better understand a document or to improve the relevance of queries. The selected annotations and links are displayed with the document. To enable computer activity using shared information, the system provides a mechanism for handling an extensible ontology, including point of view dependant aspects. It provides support for indexing and for searching in annotated documents. The paper presents the features of OPALES, describes the mixing of points of view on video archives, and discusses some issues raised by knowledge sharing among experts.