User Modeling, Personalization and Adaptivity: Potential Keys to Success for FIBAC Project

Ludovico Solima, Italy , Cosimo Birtolo, Italy, Simona Acanfora, Italy, Massimiliano Minei, Italy

Published paper: User Modeling, Personalization and Adaptivity: Potential Keys to Success for FIBAC Project

The research project named FIBAC (Fruizione Innovativa dei Beni Artistici e Culturali – Innovative Fruition of Cultural Heritage Assets) is an Italian research project, co-funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research and conducted by Poste Italiane, University of Salerno (Department of Information Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics and CRMPA – Pure and Applied Mathematics Research Centre) and some small and medium Italian enterprises, i.e., Protom Group, Space, Meta, Nexsoft, and Lit Com.

The project aims at making a technological system prototype able to create personalized visit paths in museums and art galleries and to deliver information about art objects specifically tailored to the user’s preferences and needs, following a narrative structure.

In its general terms, this goal responds to the need of redefining the relationship between a museum and its visitors, increasingly centered on the user and mindful to his/her prior knowledge and experiences. In the framework of such a wide project, this paper intends to deepen three major aspects: user modeling, personalization and adaptivity.

User modeling. The key issue to customize a service is the possibility to create a user model; FIBAC intends to do this offering reliable and meaningful services for the museum field.. For this purpose, a deep study, both at national and international level, has been carried out to analyse specific characteristics useful to create a user model that can be applied for customization, without redundancies and computationally manageable; in short, FIBAC wants to offer a user model that can outline cultural visitors’ profiles that are meaningful for the visit, both on the basis of information explicitly provided by the user, and on the basis of implicitly gathered data, by analysing a user’s behaviour or by importing information from external systems (e.g. social networks).

Personalization. The personalization phase started from the study of the methodologies that analyse a user’s requests in natural language that adopt users’ profile, indoor tracking techniques and automatic art objects recognition. A further step consisted in improving the procedures for planning custom museum paths and, in close connection with them, for personalizing museum guided tours, according to a pull/push logic, which respectively take into consideration the user’s requests and the information suggested on the basis of the user’s profile and his/her location.

Adaptivity. The whole outlined process is enhanced by repeated use; with factual and outright information directly referred to the user, these repeated uses make up the base for an adaptive system, that knows how to model itself according to users’ changes, progress, developments and afterthoughts both during the visit and afterwards, also in future visits to other museums.

FIBAC is currently an ongoing project (it started in 2011 and it is expected to end in 2015); once closed, it will propose several innovative and distinctive aspects with respect to current available cultural heritage communication solutions. Particularly, it can be highlighted that current available solutions are mainly based on the use of ICT technologies (e.g. three-dimensional reconstructions, mobile devices, audio and video guides) not having a deep impact on a visitor’s experience as they leave him/her an essentially passive role. Differently, FIBAC’s innovative technological solutions aim to enhance the centrality of visitors and of their experiences through the interpretation of their personal needs.

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