A Methodology for Semantic Enrichment of Cultural Heritage Images Using Artificial Intelligence Technologies

J Imaging. 2021 Jul 22;7(8):121. doi: 10.3390/jimaging7080121.


Cultural heritage images are among the primary media for communicating and preserving the cultural values of a society. The images represent concrete and abstract content and symbolise the social, economic, political, and cultural values of the society. However, an enormous amount of such values embedded in the images is left unexploited partly due to the absence of methodological and technical solutions to capture, represent, and exploit the latent information. With the emergence of new technologies and availability of cultural heritage images in digital formats, the methodology followed to semantically enrich and utilise such resources become a vital factor in supporting users need. This paper presents a methodology proposed to unearth the cultural information communicated via cultural digital images by applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies (such as Computer Vision (CV) and semantic web technologies). To this end, the paper presents a methodology that enables efficient analysis and enrichment of a large collection of cultural images covering all the major phases and tasks. The proposed method is applied and tested using a case study on cultural image collections from the Europeana platform. The paper further presents the analysis of the case study, the challenges, the lessons learned, and promising future research areas on the topic.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; computer vision; cultural heritage; cultural images; deep learning; digital humanities; image analysis; ontologies; semantic enrichment.