"DataCloud 2.0" (2001-2002) was a large software research project at V2_lab.
DataCloud 2.0 is an information space containing a vast collection of media-objects. Each media-object is of a specific type - image, video, text, 3D model, sound file - and has its own characteristics. These characteristics (meta-data) are used for organising and querying the information space. Users perceive the entire information space as a 'cloud' through which they can 'fly' and which they can reorganise as desired. After an examination of their meta-data, objects in the cloud can be viewed and added to personal collections and storylines. Authorised users can add, edit and delete objects. This functionality, combined with a newsgroup facility, makes DataCloud 2.0 an effective information tool that can support a community. The technical framework on which DataCloud 2.0 is based will eventually be published as open-source software. It can therefore be used by other organisations and for other purposes. (Description from 2002).
(by Piet Vollaard)
The media-objects in DataCloud 2.0 are represented as 'real' objects and are arranged in a 3-D 'space' defined by the user and through which the user can navigate.
The proximity of objects to one another has an 'associative meaning'. Objects that belong together are located closer together (forming small constellations); objects that don't belong together are further apart. This belonging, this constellation within a differentiated cloud of objects, is rendered according to a specific command given by users (on the basis of a search of specific characteristics according to a keyword or string of such characteristics).
This idea of an associative - as opposed to hierarchical or linear structures and navigation - structuring of and navigation through data-objects is the main feature of DataCloud. The constellation of the DataCloud is fluid. It changes according to each new search or reconfiguration command from users. Users can change the characteristics of individual objects and thus the position of an individual object within its constellation.
The addition and alteration of objects, groups and (more linear organised) strings of objects enriches the set of objects and their characteristics and thus the 'intelligence' of the DataCloud as a whole. A DataCloud can be used to represent a mental map or knowledge map of a specific theme.
ADVANTAGES OF DATACLOUD 2.0
1. Shift from 2-d to 3-d environment
2. Enhanced user interface
3. Faster, more generic technology framework