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This paper discusses two interrelated projects: Manuscript map Annotation and Presentation System (MAPS); and Multi-Agent Technology Contextualizing Historical Maps (MATCH-Maps). MAPS is based on a computer aided system that allows users to enrich manuscript maps with geo-references and annotations, and to link these to existing descriptions of archival documents. This bottom-up approach raises methodological questions regarding the authority of annotations and tags provided by professional versus non-professional researchers. In addition, users need to be able to search for contextual documents of old maps. For this purpose, we designed the multi-agent environment MATCH-Maps complements the MAPS system. It will assist curators in restoring connections between manuscript maps and contextual archival documents and help users in searching for maps. Due to 19th century archival practices, many manuscript maps lost their contexts when archivists separated them from the documents to which they belonged.
Cultural heritage institutions are unequipped to reconstitute these lost relationships on their own. Involving users on the basis of Web 2.0 principles seems a productive alternative. The annotations of users may provide valuable hints to the expertise of professional archivists. The multi-agent system will use annotation in suggesting possible links between manuscript maps and administrative documents. However, it will leave it to users and curators respectively to select and re-establish definitely their proper contexts.
Session: Actionable Research [research]