Virtual Reality as a Means for Preserving Digital Heritage: Masjid Jamek


Published on

Published in: Education, Technology, Spiritual
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Virtual Reality as a Means for Preserving Digital Heritage: Masjid Jamek

  1. 1. T H E I N T E R N AT I O N A LJOURNAL of SOCIAL Interdisciplinary SCIENCES Volume 5, Number 9 Virtual Reality as a Means for Preserving Digital Heritage: Masjid Jamek Yan Peng Lim
  2. 2. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY SOCIAL SCIENCEShttp://www.SocialSciences-Journal.comFirst published in 2011 in Champaign, Illinois, USA by Common Ground Publishing© 2011 (individual papers), the author(s)© 2011 (selection and editorial matter) Common GroundAuthors are responsible for the accuracy of citations, quotations, diagrams, tables andmaps.All rights reserved. Apart from fair use for the purposes of study, research, criticism orreview as permitted under the Copyright Act (Australia), no part of this work may bereproduced without written permission from the publisher. For permissions and otherinquiries, please contact<>.ISSN: 1833-1882Publisher Site: http://www.SocialSciences-Journal.comTHE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY SOCIAL SCIENCES ispeer-reviewed, supported by rigorous processes of criterion-referenced article rankingand qualitative commentary, ensuring that only intellectual work of the greatestsubstance and highest significance is published.Typeset in Common Ground Markup Language using CGCreator multichanneltypesetting system
  3. 3. Virtual Reality as a Means for Preserving DigitalHeritage: Masjid JamekYan Peng Lim, Multimedia University, Selangor, MalaysiaAbstract: In previous decades only small scientific communities were privileged to do address mattersof cultural heritage. Consequently, our cultural and information heritage has been converted into di-gital forms where the technologies we use to create and enjoy the digital heritage boast many advant-ages. This is evident from the extraordinarily rapid take up of the technologies in many parts of theworld. With the help of modern information technologies, exposure to the general public becomes alot easier. This article presents a study of the use of Virtual Reality as a means of contributing in thecreation of digital heritage preservation. The author takes on the Malaysian government’s programmingin the field of digital preservation of the ‘Masjid Jamek’ or the Jamek Mosque as a case study. In 2009,The National Heritage Department of Malaysia identified several mosques that had rich and strongheritage to be presented to the government for the purpose of preserving these religious institutionsKeywords: Virtual Reality, Cultural Heritage, Mosque, Digital PreservationIntroductionT HE IMPORTANCE OF digital cultural heritage preservation which was previously left to only a select few of interested communities have become more common and wider than ever before in our society. Consequently, much of the world’s cultural and information heritage has been converted into digital forms and the technologiesused to create and enjoy the digital heritage boast many advantages [1][2]. Beginning in2000, there was an intense focus expressed by the Malaysian Government calling for librariesin the country to rally on collaborative efforts with universities and public and private archivesto develop a repository for the nation’s local resources. It is believed that this will help inenhancing an understanding about Malaysia’s culture by the global community and hencecreate “a reference point for the world to access information and knowledge about thecountry”[3]. This article presents a study of the use of Virtual Reality as a means of contrib-uting to the creation of digital heritage preservation in Malaysia. The author takes on theMalaysian government’s programming in the field of digital preservation of the MasjidJamek [4] or Jamek Mosque as a case study. The adaptation and creation of immersive virtual reality (VR) programs are rising to becomea current trend in museums. The science and the arts are slowly but surely being impactedby the advancement of new interactive technologies that succeed in captivating the public;as is the case with virtual reality. From a purely military and scientific research realm, VRtechnologies have infiltrated multidisciplinary fields such as design, architecture, education,entertainment and the arts [5]. This article presents a study on the use of VR as a tool to preserve cultural heritage digitally.The author has chosen the Malaysian government’s digital preservation programme onThe International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social SciencesVolume 5, Number 9, 2011,, ISSN 1833-1882© Common Ground, Yan Peng Lim, All Rights Reserved,
  4. 4. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY SOCIAL SCIENCESMasjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque) as a case study. In 2009, “The National Heritage Departmentof Malaysia identified several mosques with a rich and strong heritage and presented themto the government for the purpose of preserving these religious institutions”[3]. They intendedto reproduce the shape of the Masjid Jamek mosque and reconstruct the findings in a virtualreality environment which seeks to instill an appreciation of the mosque’s cultural heritageand establish a link between the past, present and future [6][7]. The symbolisms and signi-ficance of a mosque towards a society requires the essence of its Islamic architecture beprotected and the use of virtual reality techniques is the best option [6].The History of Masjid JamekUndergirding the fundamental structure of a Muslim’s community life is the mosque. Ac-cording to Rasdi [7], “the mosque is the most important building in Islam” and more thanjust a place of worship, the functions of a mosque are arguably also as Muslim communitydevelopment centre. In light of the [3] news article mentioned above, the Masjid Jamekmosque was short listed as one of the mosques that retained a strong heritage and historicalvalue and can be said to be the oldest mosque in the capital city of Malaysia [8]. Locatedalong Jalan Tun Perak, Masjid Jamek was built at the intersection of the Gombak River andthe Klang River; constructed on “the first Malay burial grounds” in Kuala Lumpur [9]. The term ‘Jamek’ (Jamik) originates from the Arabic language and means ‘a place forcongregation’. It was officially opened by the Sultan of Selangor in 1909, and was the fore-most mosque until 1965 when the Masjid Negara (National Mosque) was constructed. Itsarchitecture reflects attributes of North-Indian Islamic influence through its prominent redbricks and marble structure [8][9]. It has three domes covering the prayer hall and numerouscupolas and minarets topping its brick walls and arched colonnades. Its central dome is 21.3m high while the two minarets are both 26.8 m in high each. Built from funds raised bydonation from the Malaysian community and the government, the total cost of constructionwas RM 32,625. Commonly known as the Friday mosque, Masjid Jamek receives loads ofpeople who come for their ritual prayers on Friday [9].ObjectiveThis article presents two sections with the following aims:1. to provide some background regarding digital preservation involving cultural preserva- tion (Digital Heritage) and,2. to focus on virtual reality (VR) as a tool to preserve Islamic architecture in .The Importance of Preserving the Masjid Jamek MosqueThe Muslim house of prayer originates from the Arabic word ‘masjid’ which represents aplace of prostration before God. “Hence, it is also referred to as the House of Allah (BaitAllah), a place where only Allah alone is worshipped and remembered as recorded (in SurahAlNoor: 36 – the Holy Quran)” [6]. Muslims believe that the Kaabah - located in Makkah Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia - wasthe first house ever built on earth by the Prophet Adam (a.s) and thereby represents the Houseof Allah. Having then been reinstated by Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and his son Ismail (a.s),120
  5. 5. YAN PENG LIMProphet Muhammad (s.a.w) went on to build the Qoba Mosque in Medinah soon after hisHijrah (migration from Makkah to Madina), signifying the birth of a new Muslim communitythere. Since then, the Mosque has been always been a representative of the establishment ofa Muslim community, where the attributes of the Muslim society originate [7]. The mosque is also considered sacred ground in which communion between man and Godis exchanged, and hence the aspects of prayers conducted in a mosque are seen as fundamentalto a Muslim’s life. Dating back to the mosque of the Prophet in Madina – it was made tofunction not just as the Prophet’s place of residence, but also as an “education centre, acourthouse, a military camp, a hospital, a shelter for the homeless and a place of celebration;” making it then a truly central perspective of the Muslim life [7]. Figure 1: Masjid Jamek, Kuala Lumpur (Nor Alley Zulkafly, 2009)Digital HeritageThis section will discuss the digital preservation involving cultural preservation (objective1). The rapid loss of heritage regardless of forms produces a depletion of a heritage of nationsHence, it is of crucial importance that such resources of information and creative expressionbe increasingly being “produced, distributed, accessed and converted into digital forms”, tocreate a new sustainable heritage – the digital heritage [1].Digital ContentContents formed, generated, used, accessed, shared or preserved in a digital format i.e.photographs, videos, texts, graphics, sound and internet sites are considered digital contents[1]. They are stored and made accessible via digital hardware such as computer, television,radio and also storage devices like CDs, DVDs and other future carriers of information [10].The digital world of today has drastically changed the way we communicate with each otherand with these changes, there is a need for new forms of delivery models to meet the demandsof interaction between social communities, businesses and also governments [1][11]. SomeIslamic countries such as Malaysia, Turkey and Iran are focusing on the digitization of her-itage materials in order to preserve their national culture and subsequently position these toattract a wider audience. These digitization processes of heritage materials through the useof digital media are primarily to ensure that the material “remains permanently accessible”[1] and according to [3], it is also to attract more people especially that of the younger gen- 121
  6. 6. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY SOCIAL SCIENCESeration towards an appreciation of national culture and values. The architectural of MasjidJamek represents the symbolic of Islamic art through texture and pattern [3]. This is not justbeautiful but irreplaceable of spiritual which can attract younger generation to appreciatethe value and the richness of the culture from past till present. They can refer to the Islamicarchitecture in Malaysia.Digital PreservationIn simple terms, “digital preservation” is the processes used to for maintain information andall other digital forms of heritage. The purpose of preserving digital materials is to maintainaccessibility: the ability to access their essentials or purpose [1]. However, preserving heritagethrough digital means comes with its own set of concerns. Digital materials are not consideredpreserved if the means of access are lost and access becomes impossible [1]. Especially,some of the patterns have the aesthetic and cultural value if not been preserved it may damagethe design of the Masjid Jamek’s building. The building of Masjid Jamek has powerful effectin enhancing national identity.Potential Threats in Digital Heritage PreservationDigital preservation carries with it a risk of being lost to future generations due to the constantdiscontinuance of the various hardware and software that gives it life, inconclusive securityin resources, responsibility and approach for maintenance and preservation, and the lack ofsupportive legislation. Digital evolution has been too rapid and costly for governments todevelop timely and informed preservation strategies; hence, these threats as identified[1][2][11] - as part of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’sefforts in establishing guidelines for preservation of digital heritage [1] - are increasinglybecoming a concern:• “The carriers used to store these digital materials are usually unstable and will deteriorate within a few years or in a decade at the most;• The use of digital materials depends on its means of access that work in particular ways: these tools typically become obsolete within a few years and are replaced with new tools that work differently;• Materials may be lost in the event of disasters such as fire, flood, equipment failure, virus or direct attacks disable stored data and operating systems;• Those charged with responsibilities to care for digital materials may not have adequate knowledge or facilities;• There may be insufficient resources available to sustain preservation action over the re- quired period;• There may not be time or skills available to respond quickly enough to a sudden and large change in technology;• The digital materials may be well protected but so poorly identified and described that potential users can not find them;• Critical aspects of functionality, such as formatting of documents or the rules by which databases operate may not be recognised and may be discarded or damaged in preservation processing”.122
  7. 7. YAN PENG LIMAnother crucial issue is how meaning changes when a work is translated into new deliverydevices. We clearly understand that a reproduction of a work (particularly that of changinginto another format) may convey certain characteristics of that work, but can sometimes bedramatically different from the original. The faithfulness of cultural reproduction processeshas raised questions about differences between originals and reproductions [12]. Unlessthese prevailing threats are addressed, the loss of digital heritage will be rapid and inevitable.Awareness-raising and advocacy is urgent for any government which aims to protect andpreserve its national culture including that of the Malaysian government; alerting policymakers and sensitizing the general public to both the potential of digital media and thepracticalities of preservation [3]. Masjid Jamek is one of the six mosques around the cityselected by Government of Malaysia that had rich and strong heritage to present for thepurpose of preserving Islamic art heritage and religious institutions [4]. It needs to apply thepreservation strategies and get rid of all the threats mentioned above. This section will discuss the digital preservation involving cultural preservation (objective2). In relation with the second aim, the objectives are [1][3]:• To describe how digital technology delivers content to its target audience and preserves cultural heritage.• To educate the younger generation regarding the historical and symbolic architectural structure and techniques used during the construction of the ‘Masjid Jamek Mosque’.• To portray different information as a virtual archive for the mosque.• To allow readers to learn more about the mosque.• To allow readers to understand the potential power of virtual reality technology in con- tributing towards cultural preservation.Virtual Reality-Preserving Malaysia’s Muslim Heritage through MosquesVaried methods exist to preserve cultural heritage especially in conservation efforts of most-valued architecture all around the world such as mosques in Islamic countries. Here, theauthor aims to focus on the usage of virtual reality as a medium for cultural heritage digitalpreservation within Malaysia [6]Virtual RealityOften interacted in a computer simulated environment, virtual-reality is hence capable ofinstilling a sense of cultural heritage appreciation through cutting edge technology. It is astrong means of presentation for a holistic user experience [15]. This article “will lead tothe improvement of the current practice in terms of conservation and heritage managementin Malaysia; documented in digitized form for future reference”. “The expected results willbe a model of Masjid Jamek mosque and its surroundings simulated in a virtual reality envir-onment that could be interactive”[6]. This attempt could be the first of many more forward steps in assisting our country towardsfuture preservation of our heritage and cultural values [7][11]. By doing so, the many researchand documentation processes of this project would also contribute greatly to the possiblereconsiderations of what ‘Islamic Architecture’ is in our present day and age, whether factors 123
  8. 8. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY SOCIAL SCIENCESof culture, language and function are great denominating factors towards the definition ofthe term [6]. According to [15], “Virtual Reality (VR) technology has already reached the level ofmaturity allowing it to be introduced into real-life applications especially in cultural heritage”.The major breakthrough in Virtual Reality technology lies in the fact that we no longermerely see 2D images but are able to immerse ourselves into an environment that not onlyallows users to view a 3D object but also have the freedom and choice to interact with theobject, making decisions along the way as the physical simulation responds to our actions.This can take place over the Internet or on platforms programmed under the Virtual RealityModeling Language [13][14][15]. All of this simulated environment takes into considerationrealistic renderings and thus requires the application of realistic texturing, collision detection,walkthrough and audio. It is crucial in accordance to the objective of this article that thequestion of methodology in which the government utilizes VR technology to create a virtualmosque be addressed. Realistic 3D application must be achieved by considering three differentcritical aspects which include the choices of appropriate modeling techniques, the preparationof lighting models and the texture creation process [6][14].MethodologyThere are three phases in the development of a virtual reality project. The first which entailscomprehensive research and analysis of the actual building is required for the next processof selecting an accurate 3D modeling package, texturing application methods, collision de-tection, walkthrough and audio. Apart from this, there are two elements to be consideredwhen developing a 3D model, and they are: creating sub-models by dividing the mainbuilding, and consequently converting these models into VRML [14]. Design and constructionruns primarily in the second phase. During this phase, a lot of related detailed informationand techniques must be taken into consideration by professionals in order to produce arealistic 3D model of the virtual mosque [14]. This phase is crucial to be completed well asit will determine whether a model is attractive or not. Testing and evaluation is reserved for the final phase and is normally done to inspect theoverall believability of the model and make changes to details that do not carry realistic ar-chitectural views. As suggested by [14], it is good to have 30 selected users to evaluate thefollowing characteristics:• Realism• Navigation• Pattern of texture• Collision detection• AudioModeling of the Virtual MosqueThe main software that can be possibly used in developing the virtual mosque model is 3DStudio Max as it supports conversion of 3D model to VRML format. The 3D model of thevirtual mosque must be developed by applying a geometric model [14] [15].124
  9. 9. YAN PENG LIMTexturizingOnce the modeling of the virtual mosque is completed, texturizing comes into place by im-plementing appropriate techniques to get a realistic view. Components that need to be texturedare the domes, floors, pillars, ceilings, doors and walls. The texture needs to be applied toenhance the realism of the virtual mosque. In order to achieve this realism, Texture TransformNodes and Texture Coordinates Nodes features that are offered by VRML are applied in 3Dformat to the virtual mosque. The Texture Transform nodes will define a 2D transformationthat is applied to texture coordinates. This node affects the way texture coordinates is appliedto the geometric surface. By using this node, simple geometric transformation can be per-formed such as scale, rotation and translation on texture coordinates [14][15].Walkthrough and AudioWalkthrough is a technical methodology which displays building scenes using geometricobjects and enables users to navigate between them. This technique allows the user to exper-ience a holistic design environment from the interior to the exterior of the mosque, adaptedfrom [15]. Besides that, an audio of the ‘Azan’- a call to prayer for Muslims indicating that a partic-ular prayer time is due – can also be included in the virtual mosque in order to provide usersthe feeling of ‘being there’ while navigating in the virtual mosque. This manner of audiowill greatly enhance the user experience of the program [6] .Modeling of Virtual HumansIn keeping with a virtual consistency, it is ideal to have virtual humans. Nonetheless, it is achallenge to find functional means to create virtual humans to inhabit these virtual spaces.This task is not one that can be undertaken easily as there are a myriad of complexities thatarises from limitations in technology. In creating virtual humans, one requires a duplicateof the real; hence it is often a necessity to use motion capture systems (magnetic/optical).By recording movement, the virtual can simulate the real rather realistically. However, whenit comes to having the virtual human programmed in a way that its responses are instinctive,it becomes a difficult task. It is generally easy to program or change a virtual human’s singleposture by basically changing its influencing parameters (using Inverse Kinematics). However,if a thorough motion sequence is needed to change which also has spatial limitations to befollowed, it will prove difficult. This is because spatial contrasts will always be differentfrom one virtual human to another making it hard to apply a change in motion across a seriesof sequence in different virtual models. This is often known as the motion targeting problem[15]. On the other hand, it is also common to find virtual humans created using algorithm andcomputational data. This is because motion synthesis depends on numerical models that givethe body form and structure at specific times. However, algorithm programming is commonlyused for simpler objects such as a ball bouncing and other kinds of dynamics and is rarelyused for structuring a fully functioning virtual human which focuses on complex humanemotions. Regardless, it is still capable of generating good results in some specific cases,i.e. the synthesis of a walking. To locate such models and create complex motions through 125
  10. 10. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY SOCIAL SCIENCESthem is still a major issue. These models can be created for walking, but also for groups andcrowds. Sadly, a general method to model behaviors and actions with flexibility and varietyis still non-existent [14]. Figure 2: Example of Motion Capture Sequence of Prayer Performance [15]Testing and EvaluationFor the initial stage of testing, a self-navigating journey through the virtual mosque is doneto identify any flaws or non-realistic view of the display. Evaluators are then divided intotwo different groups-experienced and inexperienced users. Experience users are users whohave undergone virtual reality courses, while inexperienced users are those whom havenever been exposed to or had any experience in virtual reality applications. They will be in-structed to navigate through the virtual mosque in order to answer all the questions. It isimportant that the navigational designing approach prize convenience as priority for inexper-ienced users. Apart from disseminating questionnaires, interview sessions can also be conducted in orderto obtain feedback from the evaluators. A major problem in this section will be for inexper-ienced users to walk through the virtual mosque and encounter difficulties due to their unfa-miliarity with the system. Hence, the navigational approach must also be designed conveni-ently and appropriately [15].Other Important ConcernsVirtual reality designers must plan to provide virtual agents to guide users while navigatingthe virtual mosque. They should also apply other interaction devices for better navigationalpurpose such as a tracker. The application ought to include a map to indicate the location ofa user’s current position while they explore the building. All these crucial steps will greatlycontribute towards the overall user experience [15].126
  11. 11. YAN PENG LIMDiscussionThe process of defining accurate and precise parameters in cultural heritage and religiouspractice requires a fair amount of well-informed knowledge and experience. As such, thedigital preservation process of any heritage can only be complete with the collaborative effortand contributions of a pool of professionals tied closely to the subject of preservation. Basedon the author’s point of view in relation to the preservation of Masjid Jamek mosque, regard-less of medium used; a respected and knowledgeable Muslim leader who is able to definethe subject in a clear and well formatted method is needed.Future WorkAs cultural meaning tends to also grow within a certain geographical boundary, elementsthat make up the local context ought to also be considered paramount towards any factfinding or research. Virtual reality has much potential to carry the weight of digital preser-vation in terms of cultural heritage and with initiatives like that carried out by the NationalHeritage Department, there is hope in successfully preserving the priceless historical treasuresof the land albeit slowly. Virtual reality as means for preserving digital heritage not forMasjid Jamek only, but implement for the rest of beautiful building in Malaysia and allowto view and accessible globally.References1. Webb, C. Guidelines for the preservation of digital heritage. Prepared by the National Library of Australia. Information Society Division. United Nations Educational, Sci- entific and Cultural Organization (2003). Accessed: Cunliffe, Hon David and Tizard Hon Judith. Creating A Digital New Zealand: New Zealand’s Digital Content Strategy (2007).3. Manaf, A. Z. Establishing the national digital cultural heritage repository in Malaysia Emerald Group Publishing Limited: Library Review. 57(7), 537-548 (2008).4. Anonymous. Preserving the Malaysian Heritage, Malaysian National News Agency (2009). Accessed: .5. Gaitatzes, Anthanasios. Christopoulos, Dimitrios. Roussou, Maria. Reviving the past: Cultural Heritage meets Virtual Reality. Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. 103-110 (2002).6. Sharif, H.M. and Hazumi, H. Reconstruction of the Earliest Mosque in using Virtual Reality Technique. Digital Culture and Heritage. Haus der Kulture ICHIM 04. Welt, Berlin (2004).7. Rasdi, Mohamad Tajuddin Haji Mohamad. The Mosque as a Community Development Centre: Programme and Architectural Design Guidelines for Contemporary Muslim Societies. Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia (1998).8. Marasinghe, Naveen. Masjid Jamek the oldest in Kuala Lumpur (2009). Accessed:9. Anonymous. Religious places, Masjid Jamek (2009). Accessed: http://www.malaysiat- Besser, Howard. Digital Preservation of Moving Image Material. The Moving Image, Fall, 39-55 (2010). Accessed:. 127
  12. 12. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY SOCIAL SCIENCES11. Dobreva, M. And Ikonomov, N.: Digital Perservation and Access to Cultural and Sci- entific Heritage: Presentation of the KT-Digicult-BG Project. International Journal: Information Theories and Application. 11, 205-210 (2005).12. Healy, K. Survey Article: Digital Technology and Cultural Goods. The Journal of Political Philosophy, 10(4), 478-500 (2002).13. Andrea L. Ames, David R. Nadeau, John L. Moreland L. Ames, Andrea, Nadeau, David R., Moreland, John L. “Vrml 2.0 Sourcebook”, Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (1997).14. Hasiah Mohamed et al. A VRML Based Virtual Mosque: Design, Implementation and Evaluation (2006).15. Thalmann, D.: Concepts and Models for Inhabited Virtual Worlds. First International Workshop on Language Understanding and Agents for Real World Interaction, 1-10 (2003).About the AuthorDr. Yan Peng LimYan Peng Lim is currently a lecturer in the Faculty of Creative Multimedia at the MultimediaUniversity.128
  13. 13. EDITORSMary Kalantzis, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA.Bill Cope, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA.EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARDPatrick Baert, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK.Norma Burgess, Syracuse University, Syracuse, USA.Bill Cope, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA.Peter Harvey, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia.Vangelis Intzidis, University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece.Paul James, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.Mary Kalantzis, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA.Gerassimos Kouzelis, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.Massimo Leone, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.Alexandros-Andreas Kyrtsis, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.José Luis Ortega Martín, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain.Bertha Ochieng, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK.Francisco Fernandez Palomares, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain.Miguel A. Pereyra, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain.Constantine D. Skordoulis, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.Chad Turnbull, ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain.Chryssi Vitsilakis-Soroniatis, University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece. Please visit the Journal website at for further information about the Journal or to subscribe.