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Step 3 - Interacting with objects

 
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  1. Now that we have become somewhat accustomed to our new environment, let us go and interact with the surviving remains at Petsofa. Guide your avatar back to the site and move the mouse cursor over any of the large stone boulders that form part of the remains. You will notice that a number of the objects turn yellow as the cursor passes over them. This means that they contain information that can be viewed and edited. Left-click once on any highlighted object to access its information.

Viewing an object's information

Viewing an object's information
  1. The target object will turn red and you will be presented with a window that contains information pertaining to the selected object as is seen in the screenshot above. The database name of the object is given in the window’s title bar (here it is ‘rock_kc_1_1’ meaning that it is a stone block artefact, part of the wall ‘kc’ and that it is the first element of the wall’s first course). Empirical information such as its length, width and height are given. A textual description is also supplied. All this information has been retrieved from a networked SQL database. In this way, ArcSeer provides a new way of accessing flat database table information. This new approach to data access is more naturalistic, echoing the way in which people actually interact with objects in the real world, i.e. they locate an object and, if they wish, they then interact further to illicit more information from the object. This method of data acquisition echoes the core principle of phenomenology which states that knowledge can only be learned by observation.
  2. There are a number of other fields that may contain information depending on the selected object. One of these is the list of image thumbnails that show pictorial representations of the object in question. You can click on any of these thumbnails in order to show a larger resolution version of the image in question as shown in the screenshot below.

    Viewing an object's associated image

  3. For the Petsofa case study, only photographs have been included in the image fields. However, the photographic medium is only one type of pictorial representation and there is clearly a space here for the addition of other types of image such as technical drawings or more imaginative/speculative depictions of the target object. This allows the system to provide multiple interpretations or views of a single object. In some cases a larger version of the image may be available and you can click on the <Large> button to gain access to this.
  4. A web resource is another item of information that an object might contain. If you have sufficient user rights (Expert or Administrator) you will be able to add links to online resources that you feel have some relevance to the object. In the example shown below, the user has entered both the web address and title of the 1903 Palaikastro annual project report for the Annual of the British School at Athens which is stored on JSTOR. This report contains Myres’ account of his excavation at Petsofa.
Viewing an object's associated image

Adding an object web resource

Adding an object web resource

Click the <Add> button to add the resource and it will now appear below in the list of available web resources as shown below. You can now left-click on the new addition and you will be directed to the link in question.

Viewing an object’s web resources

Viewing an object’s web resources
  1. The next type of information that can be added or viewed is the user comment. The procedure to add a new comment is basically the same as that for a web resource. Enter your comment about the object in the field provided and click <Add> to have it included in the list of comments as seen below.

Adding an object comment

Adding an object comment
  1. As you can see in the screenshot below the user comment has been added along with the author and the time and date on which it was composed. The commenting feature allows users to engage actively with the objects in the environment and with other users of the system in a manner not unlike the forum-type model that has now become commonplace on the Internet. ArcSeer allows a greater level of connection and immediacy between what is discussed and those who discuss it.

Viewing an object’s comments

Viewing an object’s comments
  1. Clicking the <Close> button will exit the object’s information window.
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