Threads of Knowledge
Verónica Perales and Fred Adam
Research Group for the College of Fine Arts,Universidad de Castilla la Mancha, España
Keywords: Museum, Threads, Knowledge, e-culture, Web Navigation, Internet, Virtual Museum, PDA, Minos,
Didactic Classroom, UBIK2, Indevol.
Abstract: Minos is a proposal developed within the project INDEVOL:NEM – Dinamic Interfaces Evolutive:
Navigation into Multidimensional Space- Knowledge is a series of virtual threads located in cultural spaces,
open to the public, which can be accessed through mobile phones, PDA, laptap computers or any other
technological device which can be connected to the web. Its purpose is to visualize information either in real
space or at a distance through the internet. It’s a tool for the future for e-culture focused on the expansion of
the classroom.
Minos is a System that can be implemented with
either simple or sophisticated technology, from a
network of RFID titles to a complex system of
geopositioning or indoor spatial positioning. It can
also be linked with a special compass that in
addition to indicating directions registers the
position in which it is slanted. In addition it can be
used with a Augmented Reality device for
visualizing the threads. What these technologies
have in common is that they will be connected to a
local server by cable or WIFI which will serve as a
mediator between the user and the database in the
device. The use of the net WIFI permits the
extension of minos beyond the walls of the
institution, into public space. It permits the sharing
of information in the street or any other place with
internet access. “Beyond buildings transcending
their borders the threads extend knowledge from the
inside to the outside”.
In the maze of information there are invisible
threads that draw grids of knowledge. We cannot see
them but they’re there, around us.
Figure 1: Simulation using MINOS.
Minos is a proposition that speaks about
localized tissues and about the relational paths
between all the knowledge taken place in a specific
place. Also, as a multiplicity of Ariadna threads that
allow rediscovering experiences “threaded” by many
in a same space, “occupy the virtual presence of a
shared trace”.
These Ariadna threads are variable and
progressive because they are a medium of reading
and writing at the same time; each one is evolutive,
and is created from a first piece of information that
is susceptible of being complemented or updated by
other users. They are shared constructions of public
property at the users’ disposal to sustain the
spreading of common knowledge. With wireless
technology, visitors can, for example, save and share
via email a fragment of information or leave a
message associated with a painting, or simply, to a
part of the space that is set on the grid.
This filiform entanglement can be placed in
museums, galleries, libraries or any other
communication space and the threads can be
Perales V. and Adam F. (2007).
MINOS - Threads of Knowledge.
In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies, pages 475-478
DOI: 10.5220/0001292604750478
visualized with a PDA, a mobile phone or a laptop
computer. Not only these are the technological tools
that allow us to “catch” the sequence-thread of the
works sited in the space but they also enable us to
catch the thread of the visitors’ comments or the
thread of a guided tour by an artist, a scientist or a
fisherman. The electronic device shows us
something that we cannot see but that is there. It is
the conscious and registered trace that has been left
by a specific “threader” user.
2.1 Functioning
The interface that allows our reading is the thread
itself. We move about in the space and the
multimedia thread scrolls as we move, giving us
access to a wide range of information associated
with the fragment or portion that we are going
through. The fluidity in the correspondence between
the virtual thread and the representation of the thread
in our screen is of most importance so that the user
can understand how it works. The immediacy of the
answer is crucial.
Figure 2: A thread’s node in a PDA screen.
2.2 Segments and Conjunctions
The interface allows us to move in depth in order to
have a global and detailed vision of the available
contents in the physical space. It is a ZOOM
movement on the screen associated with a horizontal
scroll that allows exploring the contents of each
Figure 3: Zoom levels in the thread.
The digital thread represents the different
relational and understanding proposals, associated
with the concrete physical space that we visit. The
digital thread slides in perfect synchronization with
the users movements.
“Geometrical conjunctions” show in the
interface, related to the nature of the segments in the
carried out combinations.
2.2.1 Mecano-Code
These geometrical elements develop from a hexagon
that can mutate into various other forms. The online
combination draws the extension and the articulation
of the memory segments.
Each element that composes the horizontal
thread is mobile and evolutive. Each form fulfils a
purpose such as pointing out an available database, a
guided tour, an 18
century manifesto or the
restoration techniques of a piece.
WEBIST 2007 - International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies
Figure 4: Catalogue of conjunctions and segments.
Just like a DNA sequence, the thread has an
unbreakable basic structure. It has a key head,
”HEAD”, that could be for example: “Data Base on
fishing in Ireland”, followed by its description,
authorship and other links related to it. Then, the
hexagons can begin several parallel routes to one
same thread. They are forks that correspond to the
different sections, for example, a branch of “visual
documents”, and a branch of “textual description”.
Each rectangle is a data container that could be
either a text, an audio file, a video, or an image.
2.3 Web and Didactic Classroom
During the visit, the user can save the whole (or
part) of the contents, by dragging to the inferior
boxes, the rectangle representing the contents. This
operation allows creating a personal combination.
After choosing the contents considered to structure
that version are chosen, the user can, through the
PDA, the mobile phone, or the computer, send its
sequence to an email. The information sent, has a
specific format that can be decoded on the project’s
web page, when at home or in a Didactic Classroom.
His thread can be registered (if willing) in the
project’s archive so that other internauts can visit his
route. Apart from the information that the “official
threader” has linked in the visit, the web system
allows to attach another kind of information that will
be added to the first base of the “thread”. The user
can create new threads from zero, or can modify
existing ones, and save them as derived versions.
Therefore, when a visit is made to the Museum, one
can, not only see the information uploaded by an
expert (for example), on the database, but also
visualize documents that are considered do be
relevant and that have been linked. These documents
will logically come from other web servers.
The user can prepare his visit before going to the
Museum, and can upload the prepared information
to see associated contents, once there. This is a very
practical tool for a teacher that prepares the itinerary
for the visit to the Museum before going there with
his students. Museum and Didactic Classroom find a
consistent bond.
Figure 5: The user can make a previous visit based on the
system, before going to the Museum.
2.3.1 Web Application
A multimedia reader device, accessible on the
project’s website, and especially designed and
programmed to read MINOS’ multimedia threads,
serves us to visualize the previously existing
contents and to add new documents that are
considered to be relevant (edition).
The thread is nothing more than a small program,
of a few kilobits that holds the kind of information
and the reading order of the material from a related
database, like a bookmark collection.
Figure 6: Minos application on the web.
MINOS - Threads of Knowledge
We follow the threads that are a navigational
memory of other users, or generate a new
combination of coloured segments, variable in
length and contents.
We can imagine that all of Minos relational paths
converge into a central dome inside the space. This
dome allows us to analyze the connections between
the different filaments and get a detached view from
the tissue, so as to analyse, as Fuller pretended with
his Dymaxion Map, the repercussions, differences
and unlikenesses and possible solutions. The
Museum connects with the Didactic Classroom but
also with the world.
“Utopian ideas-like ‘Spaceship Earth’-are round,
multidimensional, interrelated: their archetypal map
is the Milky Way, the infinite constellations. But
rational thinking is instrumental, linear, it distorts:
and that’s exactly the problem with the Mercator
map, the most common world projection.
Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome,
created a ‘Dymaxion map’ to undo those
distortions.” (Holmes)
Fuller represents the earth as an icosahedrons
divided in 20 faces of triangular shape. The
geometrical structure is then displayed on a plan,
therefore avoiding, the polar and continent
In 1967, in the Montreal’s Universal Exhibition,
Fuller worked in a shared problem-solving process
which he called “World Peace Game. « The basic
idea was simple: radical democracy. »Make the
world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest
possible time, through spontaneous cooperation,
without ecological offense or the disadvantage of
Figure 7: Dymaxion Map. Buckminster Fuller.
Technology ought be a tool that enables us to see further,
we can enhance our gaze with it, but we cannot allow it to
replace our senses and convert into an indispensable
prosthesis in our approach to the world and culture. Minos
makes the exploration of data related to cultural places
easier, showing the interweaving of links that surpasses
the contents of a specific nucleus. The devise that allows
us to reach this nucleus is not the aim of this research, it’s
just the means –restrained by the current technological
advances and budget limitations- that holds us back to go
deeper into the quest for knowledge.
Figure 8: Minos, conceived by UBIK2, within the project
We would like to thank the Spanish grant PCC-05-
005-2 from JCCM.
Holmes, Brian. Cartography of Excess, Bureau d'études,
WEBIST 2007 - International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies