The abstract of the talk “The Online Museum and Its Contribution to e-Humanities” reads thus:
Museums and other cultural heritage institutions have developed and experimented with applications providing online access to their collections. Whilst doing so, they face many challenges, both technical and intellectual. Many scientists and scholars follow the initiatives of the cultural heritage sector in the digital domain with much interest. In recent years, several research projects have worked with cultural heritage institutions to develop methods and techniques to provide access to and interpretation of objects online museum collections. The Agora project of the VU University Amsterdam is such research project. In addition it reflects on digitally mediated public history.
In this paper, we will argue that the online access to cultural heritage raises questions about the nature of historical events and narratives. Museums not only provide information; they also support the interpretation of objects. Stories help us to interpret and value objects. As such, online cultural heritage contributes to the field of e-humanities in a specific manner. Rather than starting with big sets of data and ending with the interpretation of the cultural patterns found in those data; the design of applications in the domain of cultural heritage starts with the study of cases – people, objects and events – with the aim of providing and supporting narrative interpretations of those cases.