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Published: Jul 21, 2016 5:51:00 PM

Winning Project from UCL's Digital Humanities Month Prize Workshop

UCL Connections (awarded £5,000)

UCL Connections Project Team

Project team from left to right:

Jia Liu (UCL Archaeology)

Emma Norris (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health)

George Neris (UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage, Bartlett)

Peter Williams (UCL Information Studies)


University College London is a world-renowned institution across multiple academic fields. However, as is the case across Higher Education, departments often work in isolation and members of staff and students are disconnected from each other: unaware of the teams and heritage around them. Additionally, the true spirit, the everyday life and the history of UCL is often difficult to portray to the public via current media.

Recent increased availability of the internet and mobile devices provide unprecedented access to information. Companies and institutions are seeking new ways to utilise this technology and improve engagement with both internal and external stakeholders. Despite the ever-expanding pool of digital data and other assets, a physical presence must also be maintained to provide relevance to individuals without access to such digital tools. UCL currently has no tool to unite the physical, digital, resources (internal/external), and personal experience for research, social or promotional purposes.


Considering the problem outlined above, the research aims to:

· Create new connections within and outside of UCL;

· Champion the heritage, research and social assets of UCL by uniting the physical and digital, the public and the personal;

· Test new augmented reality technologies in a UCL format;

· Establish an innovative, interactive and attractive system for UCL to interpret and integrate digital and physical assets.


These are to:

· Establish physical “Totem” sign-posts across campus, indicating and providing information on points of interest;

· Building on existing UCL infrastructure and resources, develop an online (and possibly mobile) augmented reality system, allowing users to assign ‘Totems’ to points of interest around UCL and provide tags; comments and media on their related experiences;

· Work with specialist teams across UCL to ensure the quality of development;

· User-test this system with internal and external UCL stakeholders.


· Establishing the physical ‘Totem’ sign-posts across campus: For the purpose of this project, the Digital Humanities and the adjacent Petrie Museum have been chosen as the pilot locations;

· Developing an online application and User Interface, by utilizing UCL-developed software and open-license applications to create a digital map of the plane where the Totems will be placed and the interface through which the data will be collected, tagged, connected and represented.

· User-testing this system: This will be undertaken by observing users while they use the system and provide a ‘protocol analysis’ of their actions during a search session. Post-session interviews will elicit opinions and suggestions with regard in particular to barriers, difficulties and recommendations for improvement.

This project will involve the following steps:

· Data Collecting: Data concerning targeted ‘Totem’ will be collected through literature review, interview, photo/video taking, and 3D-data capturing, etc.

· Data Processing: All collected data will be reorganized under an elaborate-designed interpretation structure.

· Data Outputting: Reorganized data will be visualized and synthesized with user-friendly UI design, and eventually be generated as software, which covers platforms of PC, webpage, and mobile devices.

Duration and future direction

The interpretation system of ‘UCL Connections’ is renewable and sustainable; ‘UCL Connections’ team will try to finish several ‘Totems’ within 6 months.

Future work will aim to secure additional, future funding to make the digital service go live publically, for promotion and for service moderation.

Page last modified on 29 jan 14 11:13