Prof. em. Michael Buckland
Geography, Time, and the Representation of Cultural Change - Experience from a large collaboration (ECAI)
The Web allows access varied resources from many different collections, but understanding depends on knowing the context. Culture is active and evolves in communities in places over time. The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ecai.org) is a large international informal collaboration of scholars, librarians, technology specialists and others concerned to improve our ability to understand culture through better methods for handling place and time. Geographical search can be improved by relating place, a cultural construct, to space, a physical construct; similarly, events and eras can be related to chronological time. WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHO require different methods for representation and display. Metadata is descriptive, but also constitutes a form of infrastructure if problems of interoperability are solved. Examples will be shown of topical, geographical, temporal and biographic search support, including changing political borders.