What is AquaRing?

AquaRing for the public

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What is AquaRing?
AquaRing is a European project to set up an innovative semantic demonstration portal for digital content on the aquatic world. Its content is provided by Europe’s aquariums, natural history museums and science centres.

For a full presentation of the project, please download the Project Brochure as a PDF here.

The goal of this demonstration online resource, co-funded by the European Commission, is to allow access to a wealth of multimedia digital material and documents, with a particular focus on sustainable use of the world’s oceans. The portal will make use of innovative, multilingual semantic web technology to facilitate intuitive access.

After its launch in March 2009, the AquaRing portal will allow access to information on the aquatic world in the form of:

• images, videos, audio files
• interactive software and e-books
• digital collections
• databases
• articles, theses, papers and dissertations

AquaRing will be available to anyone looking for information on the aquatic world. Its wide range of images, videos, articles and interactive material will make it a great resource for the general public.

Parents of young children in particular will find lots of pictures, videos and activities to satisfy their youngsters’ curiosity.

The resource will also lead teachers and lecturers to much academic material which will help them plan their lessons.

The media will be able to use the data for background information on aquatic environments, but also access essential contact information to get them in touch with experts on the aquatic world.

AquaRing will also allow access to a host of communication tools and exhibit information of interest to managers and staff of aquariums, natural history museums and science centres.


AquaRing for the public
...an intuitive and diverse source of inspiration

One portal – many sources of information

AquaRing will bring together a wide array of digital resources from aquariums, science centres and museums all over Europe. The emphasis is very much on a diversity of sources, themes and formats, aiming to ensure you find what you are looking for.

New content

Much of the material available through AquaRing has not previously been available to the public. The AquaRing portal therefore opens up a wealth of new material, which becomes increasingly richer as contributors pool their resources.

An intelligent interface

AquaRing’s use of semantic web technology not only points you to what you are looking for, but also brings up related material of interest. Material on AquaRing will be accessible both by search engine and by browsing through the available themes, giving you the most user-friendly interface possible.

A multilingual system

Material in a wide range of languages will be easily searchable thanks to the multilingual nature of the search engine. This way, the language you use to search will not restrict the potential contents you can access.

The interface will initially be available in six languages at its launch: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Lithuanian, with the possibility for future expansion.


Join AquaRing
...a user-friendly way to bring your documents out from the depths

Reaching out across Europe

For Europe’s science centres, museums and aquariums, AquaRing offers an opportunity to reach a much wider audience. The AquaRing portal, initially developed as a demonstration tool, will become an innovative semantic online source of digital documents on the aquatic world. Content providers will therefore be able to make themselves known to potential visitors, and professionals in the sector, from all over Europe and further afield.

Making the most of your digital documents

AquaRing will breathe new life into archives of digital documents and collections. Many institutions are sitting on a wealth of valuable and fascinating digital content, which is currently unavailable to the general public. The portal is an opportunity to open up these resources, making them easily searchable to people from across the globe interested in the world’s aquatic environments. The portal makes contributions from scientists more easily accessible to the enlightened amateur, for example, or allows aquariums, science centres and museums to re-use interactive materials initially created for set-term exhibitions.

Conceptualising your content

For its multilanguage search engine, AquaRing will make use of semantic web technology, an emerging standard for the current generation of Internet users approaching a Web 3.0 paradigm. This technology puts the user’s interests at the heart of the process through a conceptual search method.

The digital contents (pictures, videos, documents, etc) are annotated with metadata – data about the data – using existing classification systems and keywords on the aquatic world. This allows the search engine to retrieve content based on conceptual associations.

In other words, AquaRing will provide not only what the user is looking for, but also brings up other related content which may be of interest. For example, a search for “salmon life cycle” will bring up first and foremost images, video and other documents directly related to this subject, but will also use concepts to find related information, such as documents on how salmon are farmed, or anatomical details, or the environment where they live. As a result, contents made available through AquaRing semantic portal have a much wider potential audience.

Tagging made easy

Tagging your documents with metadata is made simple with AquaRing's content management system, thanks to its feature of annotating by collection.

Rather than tagging each document one by one, you can simply place all similar documents in one folder, and tag the folder. This can even be done automatically as you upload your files. A single folder could contain hundreds of items, speeding up the process a great deal:

These collections can also be grouped together, allowing a number of collections to be tagged simultaneously:

Like this, the way you tag the documents follows the way they are structured in folders. The result is a greater control over your collections of documents, and a more efficient way to tag them.

AquaRing is now offering this service to institutions all over Europe. This is an opportunity to give your digital content visibility through the AquaRing portal, and to prepare your content to join Europeana, the European Digital Library. To become a content provider for AquaRing, email Michael Creek: mcreek (at) ecsite (dot) net.

AquaRing is co-funded by eContentplus, the European Commission's four-year Community programme to make digital content in Europe more accessible, usable and exploitable.

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