As part of the on-going AHRC RTI FoF project for the on-line, open source RTI viewer we are working on development of a tool that will encourage scientific co-operation among cultural heritage professionals, being at the same time an enhanced dissemination and presentation tool. The artefact visualised in RTI form is not just a static record of the artefact but it enables the museum professional to execute visual analysis virtually and the members of the public to experience views of the artefact in a superior way. In that sense the annotations transform the RTI file from a high-quality record of the object to an examination record. Its educational and scientific uses are extended and extra values are attributed not only to the RTI file but also to the visualised artefact. The first step towards the development of annotated RTIs is the annotation box link which enables the addition of textual descriptions, outcome of the RTISAD project, while the latest release of RTI Viewer software includes useful features for annotations.
The annotated RTI can be virtually re-examined by other professionals and members of the public and the relevant data will be available on line, enabling easy and meaningful exchange of information. While the new viewer is under development the following provides some initial thoughts about such a framework:
- The users/creators should not be anonymous and each one should provide his/hers affiliation and add a url for a personal web page, in an attempt to assist further collaboration between researchers and museum professionals.
- Annotation, accompanied by relevant metadata, will be used in order to define, explain and characterize areas of the image.
- Annotations and uncertainty (?): Annotations with question mark used in case a user is not sure about his/hers interpretation.
- Like annotation option (!): Annotations used in order to support an already published annotation. A like annotation may be followed by an explanation text, used in order to provide an insight on the issue discussed.
- Disagree annotation option (X): Annotations used in order to express disagreement must provide reasoning and propose alternative interpretation.
- References (R): Each annotation can have one or more reference commends and internal reference commends. These can be added by the creator or another user. Reference comment: a link to an online resource, book, paper etc. used in order to support an interpretation added as an annotation. Internal reference: links to other RTIs in the repository for comparison etc. or to other annotations.
- Searching/filtering and sorting of annotations so as for the users to be able to find the annotations relevant to their research interests.
- Sorting annotations: Annotations to be sorted according to author date etc. and if the user selects a specific area of the image the existing annotations of this area to appear.
- Keywords: a list of all the keywords used in annotations to appear so as for the users to locate the info they are interested in.
- References: a list of all the references used in annotations to appear so as to provide the user with a bibliography regarding the issues discussed in the annotations.
- Contributors: a list of all users who created annotations.
- Interface: Colour coding would be useful. Other interface ideas include showing most recent annotations, following particular people’s annotations etc.