Digitalisation Meets the Middle Ages

Touchscreen in the exhibition

Media Technology of St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences presents the oldest known German-language book

Smartphones and touchscreens could turn museum visits into a digital and multimedia experience. In the months ahead, an example of this can be seen in Admont Abbey. In a special exhibition, the abbey is presenting fragments of the "Admonter Abrogans", a Latin-German dictionary from the period of around 800.

It was a sensational discovery, when in 2012 fragments of the 1,200-year-old parchment were rediscovered in a box. The original was cut up in the 18th century and used as covers for other books. Six years ago, the fragments were found in the library of Admont Abbey and its value was recognised.

Currently the fragments of the “Admonter Abrogans” are being presented in a special exhibition in the abbey. The cultural treasures have been made accessible through a multi-media presentation, which staff members of the Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies at St. Pölten UAS have designed. Visitors can zoom in on high-resolution images of the fragments, obtain background information on the details of discovery, display translations in Modern High German or guess beforehand which current term matches the Old High German original.

Digital Museum

The presentation of the Abrogans is a first prototype from the research project MEETeUX (Multi-Device Ecologies Towards Elaborate User Experience) coordinated by St. Pölten UAS. The project develops approaches to digital forms of exhibition design. For example, books that must be protected from handling by visitors could be browsed through on tablets. Or flesh and skin could be projected on the skeleton of a dinosaur with virtual and augmented reality. 

"For a meaningful and integrated future use of smartphones, tablets and touch screens or modern media technology such as augmented and virtual reality in semi-public areas, for example, exhibitions and museums, there are currently no well-tested concepts for the design of interaction and user experience for end users”, explained Markus Seidl, Head of the MEETeUX project as well as the Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies at St. Pölten UAS. However, this knowledge is important in order to make the technologies as low-threshold as possible and accessible to all.

Partners in the project MEETeUX include more than ten museums as well as providers of museum installations. The goal of the project, which will run until the end of 2019, is a project prototype for creative digital exhibition presentations. At present, conceptual and technical preliminary work is underway. 

Project MEETeUX (Multi-Device Ecologies Towards Elaborate User Experience)

The project is funded by the Bundesministerium für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort (Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs) within the framework of the COIN-programme line „Aufbau“, supported by the Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency).

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