Language and Image: T3 = Text, Tags, and Trust

  1. 1. Judith L. Klavans

    University of Maryland, College Park

  2. 2. Susan Chun

    Independent Museum Consultant, NY

  3. 3. Jennifer Golbeck

    University of Maryland, College Park

  4. 4. Robert Stein

    Indianapolis Museum of Art

  5. 5. Edward Bachta

    Indianapolis Museum of Art

  6. 6. Rebecca LaPlante

    University of Maryland, College Park

  7. 7. Carolyn Sheffield

    University of Maryland, College Park

  8. 8. Kate Mayo

    University of Maryland, College Park

  9. 9. John Kleint

    University of Maryland, College Park

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In this paper, we present on a new project, “T3: Text,
Tags, and Trust to Improve Image Access for Museums
and Libraries”, the goal of which is to improve
access to digital image collections in museums and libraries
for art historians, museum professionals, and the
general public. T3 combines text mining, social tagging,
and trust inferencing to enrich metadata and personalize
retrieval. We report on an experiment in which users tag a selected set of controversial images; with these tags,
similarity profiles are created for subjects to build an initial
trust network based on agreement or disagreement.
By processing related text through the CLiMB toolkit,
we have a third source of evidence for evaluating the
role of trust and for assessing the relationship between
tags and text terms. We will present collection criteria,
including image selection, text identification and choice,
and interface choices for data collection and analysis.
The fundamental and driving research issue in this project
concerns the relationship between the language of
image description and an image itself. The University
of Maryland’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies
and College of Information Studies, the Indianapolis
Museum of Art, and fourteen other museums have
joined to conduct research on new methods to improve
user access to digital image collections in museums and
libraries. Studies on image searching indicate that current
subject description and cataloging practices in museums,
libraries and other art historical collections are
inadequate for many end user needs. Trant, et al. 2007,
as part of the project, report that search
behaviors for users of the Guggenheim collection do not
match the descriptive practices of museum personnel.
This disconnect results in unsatisfactory and unsuccessful
image access for users. Similarly, in Klavans et al.
2008, observations of image cataloging practices in academic
visual resource centers reveal that typical records
include less than eight subject terms per image with
many records containing no subject terms at all. Social
tagging is a way to obtain richer, more varied, and more
user-oriented subject terms. However, social tagging
brings with it the problem of authority and trust: Whose
authority is a given user prepared to accept? Whose tags
does she want to trust to retrieve relevant images? (Trant
and Wyman 2006, Axelrod, Golbeck and Shneiderman
T3 is a collaborative, cross-disciplinary project comprised
of academic researchers, digital librarians, and
museum professionals. We explore the application of
techniques from computational linguistics and social
tagging to the creation of linkages between the formal
academic language of museums and the vernacular language
of social tagging. We use text mining algorithms,
taxonomies, and lexical resources to identify suggested
terms and aid users in tagging images and then retrieving
images based on tags assigned from many different
perspectives. We use the trust a user places in particular
metadata sources, e.g. other users or other sources, to
infer a weighted set of results for their searches. Consideration
of these weights in ranking algorithms—along
with term relationships from lexical resources—has the
potential to produce high-quality, focused, personalized
retrieval of works from image collections.
The T3 integrated system builds on three prior research
1. CLiMB (Text Mining for Terms): Applies computational
linguistic techniques to mine texts associated
with images for terms which are then disambiguated,
mapped to standard ontologies such as the
AAT, and reviewed by museum and library staff for
enriching image catalog records with high-quality
subject metadata.
2. (Tagging): Uses on social tagging of
images for generating metadata and engaging museum
audiences. The current project uses steve tools
and methods to explore the roles and usefulness of
non-expert enthusiasts in enhancing existing documentation.
3. FilmTrust (Trust Inferencing): Incorporates trust
networks to assign trust values. By gathering input
on users’ preferred sources, including other users, a
trust network automatically assigns values, sourced
from both text mining and tagging, based on user
perspectives. T3 will explore the process of extending
trust of other users’ opinions (i.e., “this user
likes the same works I like”) to generate values for
image descriptions.
This project addresses fundamental research questions in
the area of digital image access. Armed with answers
to basic research issues, we are able to design environments
for improved image access and improved user
experience. Research issues include examination of hypothesis
• Improve the user experience in finding works of art
and interacting with works of art and collections.
• Improve the understanding the relationship between
language and visual art, including the use of facets
and other knowledge structures to elicit useful tags
and assist users in searching
• Examine the relationships, associations, and linkages
between terms from different sources, specifically
from users, text-mining, and cataloging.
• Study when and how an understanding of sources
impacts the value of terms to users and museums,
and personalizes the user experience. Our hypothesis is that through disambiguation and trust
information, we can filter out excess terms and rank acceptable
terms. This provides users with the capability to
adjust their preferred threshold for precision over recall,
or the reverse. Specifically, disambiguating terms using
a faceted thesaurus provides users with the ability to narrow
or expand their searches based on clearly defined
concepts. For the trust component, we gather input from
users on which sources (people or text) they trust to help
us judge how much trust and authority to give to the tags/
terms originating from these sources. The trust and authority
“ratings” for tags will be used to filter them and/
or order the way they are presented. This helps users by
showing them the most trusted and authoritative terms
first, thus facilitating the user’s perusal of query results.
Dynamic personalization of these filters helps the user
by producing trusted, focused results for queries.
Our initial experiments will explore how users
judge trust in this context. Our subjects will tag a series
of images and then will rate how much they trust
a source (people or text) based on the tags/terms it
applied to the same images. Using this data, we will
analyze how similarity in tags/terms relates to trust values
and if there are particular types of words that have a
stronger influence on trust (e.g. emotion words vs. color
words). These insights will provide the basis for an initial
implementation of our prototype that personalizes
search results based on trust. The tagging interface for
this experiment is shown in Figure One: lyzing
and processing terms which serve multiple user
communities and allow us to:
• Develop and test new methodologies that group authoritative
terms and social tags based on conceptual
and semantic relationships
• Test trust-based personalization of results for different
user groups
• Research the potential of these new technologies for
engaging museum audiences and their impact on the
evolving professional landscape of image access
T3 is funded as a National Leadership Grant by the U.S.
Institute for Museum and Library Services. The project is
led by Dr. Judith Klavans of the University of Maryland,
Robert Stein of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and
Susan Chun, Independent Cultural Heritage Consultant.
Dr. Jennifer Golbeck, Assistant Professor in the College
of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, is
co-PI leads the trust component of the research, and Dr.
Dagobert Soergel, Professor in the College of Information
Studies at the University of Maryland, leads ontology
and knowledge representation aspect of T3. The
museum working group is providing users, catalogers,
content, and feedback to aid in the research.
Selected References
Axelrod, Adam, Jennifer Golbeck, and Ben Shneiderman
(2005), Generating and Querying Semantic Web
Environments for Photo Libraries Technical Report,
University of Maryland, Department of Computer Science,
Trant, Jennifer, David Bearman, and Susan Chun (2007)
The eye of the beholder: and social tagging
of museum collections, in Proceedings of the International
Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting
(ICHIM07), J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Toronto:
Archives & Museum Informatics. 2007. http://www.archimuse.
Klavans, Judith L, Carolyn Sheffield, Eileen Abels,
Jimmy Lin, Rebecca Passonneau, Tandeep Sidhu, and
Dagobert Soergel (2009) Computational Linguistics for
Metadata Building (CLiMB): Using Text Mining for the
Automatic Identification, Categorization, and Disambiguation
of Subject Terms for Image Metadata. Journal
of Multimedia Tools and Applications, Special issue
on Metadata Mining for Image Understanding (MMIU)
42(1):115-138. Elsevier: Paris.
Trant, Jennifer and Bruce Wyman (2006). Investigating
social tagging and folksonomy in art museums with Paper presented at the World Wide Web
2006: Tagging Workshop.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2009

Hosted at University of Maryland, College Park

College Park, Maryland, United States

June 20, 2009 - June 25, 2009

176 works by 303 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (4)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None