A History of the World in 100 Million Objects

This morning’s staff talk by Dominic Oldman, Deputy Head of IS and Development Manager, was titled A History of the World in 100 Million Objects.  This light-heartedly refers to the to the recent British Museum and BBC project A History of the World in 100  Objects, and  takes is to the larger scale of the vast quantity of objects in museums worldwide.

Dominic explained the new developments of Semantic Web technology, which can use the Internet to bring together data from multiple cultural heritage organisations to provide a fresh look at history using quantitative analysis and modelling of data against the linked digital information.

The British Museum is at the forefront of using this technology for cultural heritage research which has the potential for changing the way that humanities research is conducted by removing organisational barriers, allowing new knowledge to be inferred through semantic data harmonisation and allowing new and bigger ‘Enlightenment style’ questions to be proposed. This technology requires that the Internet is used for its original purpose – as a network of knowledge. This means developing new and more appropriate models to the ones that currently restrict the development of collaborative humanities work on the Web.

Take a look at the project’s website Research Space to find out more information on the institutions taking part and project updates.