Digital heritage and semantic web technologies hold out the promise of nearly unlimited access to cultural knowledge. The problem is that cultural meaning does not reside in individual objects but in the patterns of knowledge and events, belief and thought that link them to each other and to the observer. This is why narrative is so important to the communication of, and meaningful understanding, of culture.

DECIPHER is developing new solutions to the whole range of narrative construction, knowledge visualisation and display problems, with a high degree of future proofing. It will produce a step change in the process by combining much richer, event-based metadata with causal reasoning models. This will result in a reasoning engine, virtual environment and interfaces that can present digital heritage objects as part of a coherent narrative, directly related to individual searches and user contexts. This will allow the user to interactively assemble, visualise and explore, not just collections of objects, but the knowledge structures that connect and give them meaning.

· Two national heritage institutions (NGI and IMMA), with major collections that span the range of physical and born digital art works, in two and three dimensions, including time-based and installation works. A research-based SME (SSL), specialising in software engineering for professional media and content management. It is one of a handful of European companies with a well-established history of providing advanced collection management systems to memory institutions, based on its Index+ family of technologies. Three leading academic research centres (DIT, OU, BUT) specialising in knowledge management, narrative construction, data mining, semantic web technologies, language technologies, multimodal interfaces and digital heritage applications.

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