Software architecture

ICT for users

Homm-sw uses ICT in five ways: (a) to enhance a large amount of multimedia materials already available for museums’ visitors (onsite, in the museums, and on the web); (b) to suggest mental maps that connect information through a semantic navigation and an open nonlinear narrative; (c) to enhance the personal memories of themes and experiences acquired by interacting with the museums’ heritage; (d) to support a collaborative environment for communities of practice involved in the processes of teaching – learning and processes of social inclusion and cohesion, i.e. the museums’ operators, teachers, literacy centres for migrants, local educators, social workers and operators in social rehabilitation, facilitators in communities of elders; (e) to create a storage of multimedia content produced through the activities and interactions in communities of practice; (f) to produce and disseminate original materials for educational use, in any educational institution, on the salient features of the area (the cultural, historical, institutional, social, economic, technological and environmental).

Software achitecture

To meet these aims, the software architecture adopted in the development of Homm-sw is based on four pillars: (1) a web system for creating and managing community of users, authors, administrators of the sw platform and of contents; (2) ICT information points in the museum that integrate multimedia activities with the hands-on activities; (3) a website with a personal workspace that allows you to ‘continue the visit after the visit’; (4) a working group for the production and content management, and a set of collaboration tools used to expand the storage of content.

The software architecture is built around the needs of the end users of the activities of the museum. Before the visit to the museum, the enrollment of individuals and the group to which they belong (e.g. as school classes accompanied by teachers) will set the conditions to create a personal workspace and a group’s workspace. A self-assessment test prior can be implemented (customizable by the teacher, in the case of classes of students), related to the aspects that are specifically explored in the activities of the museum. During the visit, the users will be identified by a proximity card. The time for interaction with ICT tools will be limited, during the visit, since the museum is a unique place to make the real visit and the hands-on activities. The personal workspace will be enriched by various information and may be extended through many channels (tablets, mobile phones with custom applications). After visiting the museum, each user will be able to navigate freely through the Homm-sw application indefinitely. The personal web space may be adapted to the specific needs (for example, the level of knowledge effective) and to user’s preferences.

The following Figg. 1-7 outline the main features of the software architecture: multimedia clip repository, activity authoring and use of clip repository; activity engines and custom activities; personal webspace and activity instances (personal desktop), user interaction state, generalization; user lifecycle by using Homm_sw; user identification and user role.

1_Multimedia clip repository


2 Activity authoring and use of clip repository


3  Activitiy engines and custom activities


4 Personal webspace and activity instances (personal desktop)


5 User interaction state_generalization 


6  User lifecycle by using Homm-sw


Further features to be developed:

  • tools for groups of students (coordinated by teachers and tutors) and for groups that will be created for the sharing of digital resources;
  • tools to validate the work of each group
  • tools for publishing the output produced by their work (new clips, additional metadata, new links between clips).

These outputs, produced by the original elaboration of information emerged from the interaction with the heritage of the museum, its artifacts and through the hands-on activities offered by the museum, could be shared through the web in the wider community.