The University of Kentucky Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments

Though FoLIO will end, we’ll always have Paris

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The Googleplex in Paris

Since medieval times, people have made pilgrimages as a form of spiritual adventure. Researchers from the Vis Center completed their own secular pilgrimage through England, Spain, and finally France for the FoLIO project. This project will develop a structure for organizing images of antiquities that allows the specific types of relationships between those images to be represented, manipulated, highlighted, enhanced, and studied.

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Looking back at Notre Dame

Led by Dr. Brent Seales of UK and Dr. Chris Blackwell of Furman, researchers first journeyed to the Lichfield Cathedral in England in 2010 to digitally preserve the St. Chad Gospels and the Wycliffe Bible. They also traveled to El Escorial Library in Spain to digitize two manuscripts of the Iliad, known as E-3 and E-4. The FoLIO project attempts to create a framework to longitudinally organize these images. The work focuses on three relationships between images: multi-modal, diachronic, and multi-instance. Multi-modal imagery varies based on conditions, such as the spectrum of light.

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Working on FoLIO at Google

imagery relates pictures of the same scene taken at different times. Multi-instance imagery is connected semantically, like images of the pages of a story written by two different scribes. Organizing longitudinally across these various axes allows people of various disciplines to explore the datasets and use the digital archive for their own research.

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Dr. Seales discusses FoLIO

After four years of research, FoLIO ends this August. To wrap up the project, a group from the Vis Center made the last leg of the voyage with a trip to Paris, France. They crossed the Atlantic to have a workshop at the Google Paris offices with Dr. Brent Seales, who is on sabbatical as a visiting scientist at Google in Paris. Though the project will end this August, Dr. Seales will not be back in Kentucky in time to plan for the project’s final steps. Therefore, a meeting in Paris was in order. After meeting in Paris, the team returned to UK with a plan of attack to finish the task. We streamlined our goals and created a plan for action with the help from experts at Google.

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Dr. Seales on sabbatical at Google Paris

While the trip focused on the FoLIO project, the Vis Center team managed to fit in sightseeing. A typical day in Paris meant meeting at Google for breakfast, then working until lunch. After lunch at Google, the group explored Paris. Meeting in the Google offices was a spectacle in itself, but the team also hit the Parisian highlights of Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. After walking through the cathedral of Notre Dame, the group decided to continue exploring the Île de la Cité, one of two islands in the Seine.

Group Photo at Notre Dame

Group Photo at Notre Dame

It was only a short walk from Notre Dame to Berthillon, a renowned ice cream shop in Paris. While enjoying Berthillon’s unique flavors such as pear and pineapple, the team enjoyed a walk through the Latin Quarter. To encourage team bonding, Dr. Seales invited the entire Kentucky group to a picnic on the Champs de Mars, a green space in front of the Eiffel Tower. In the evening, the Eiffel Tower’s lights sparkle every hour for just five minutes. The group had a great time that night.

In Western culture, Paris is a city of symbols, perhaps best represented by the Eiffel Tower. However, the glass pyramids in front of the Louvre are an equally powerful symbol of Paris. The Vis Center group visited the highlights of the Louvre – including the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and Venus de Milo. It is impossible to see the entire Louvre in an afternoon, and as the team learned, it is impossible to experience all of Paris in a week; this trip whetted their appetite to visit Paris beyond the most popular attractions.

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Dr. Seales with the Vis Center students

As the FoLIO project comes to a close this summer, a final trip to Paris provided the opportunity to reflect on the years of research for the project and develop a plan to tie up loose ends. The team needed Dr. Seales’s input before finishing the project, and going to Paris was important in bringing everyone together before the end of the project.

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