Multimedia Information System for Contemporary Bulgarian Arts

Multimedia Information System for Contemporary Bulgarian Arts & Some Reflections on the Emerging Electronic Arts in Bulgaria is a short text for a presentation by Iliyana Nedkova (1996).

The project 'Multimedia Information System for Contemporary Bulgarian Arts' (MIS) concerns building an ORACLE-based multimedia information system. A team of computer gurus from the Information Technologies Laboratory at the New Bulgarian University has been commissioned by Soros Center for the Arts. The teamwork has been led by Vanio SLAVOV Professor & Director of the IT Lab and coordinated by Iliyana NEDKOVA, Arts Documentation Officer at SCA.

The system supports information about arts, artists, art organisations, public and private collections, exhibitions and galleries, publications, festivals, foundations and funding programs, stipends, competitions, festivals, professionals (curators, managers, etc.) in the fields of visual and performing arts. Another dimension of the system covers Bulgarian writers, translators and publishers. The MIS maintains images (photos, reproductions, slides), videos and sounds mixed with the text information. The system is a truly multimedia system. This facilitates presentation of different types of arts: from conventional to virtual visual installations.

The information is strongly and logically organised and can be retrieved by different relationships. For example it is possible automatically to prepare a multimedia report containing text, photos and videos about presentation of medium sized arts of young artists in a particular gallery for a certain period. Thus the information is arranged in a neat scheme by various characteristics: - artists - time of production - physical characteristics: sizes, materials, etc., - art characteristics: technique, category, style, theme, etc.

The system has different levels of access to the information: internal usage by curators and experts; possibilities for remote self-presentation of artists; external users: (managers, curators, lecturers, students, art-dealers, publishers, collectors). An educational dimension of the system is currently being developed. Its major goal is to disseminate the appropriate information through the Bulgarian universities, including educational materials: curricula, draft of lectures, etc.

One of the teething problems - the acquisition of information - is on the way to be solved. A simple computer tool has been developed which extremely facilitates the art experts, commissioned to collect and process the inputted info.

Furthermore the MIS project is planned to be installed on the INTERNET later in the year, using ORACLE WWW Server. The system was developed as an inherent multi-language system and can support consistent information in different languages, with pre-defined 3 modes of automatic translation between them. To realise this in practice a language engineering project is to be initiated soon, building a multi-language computer Thesaurus in the field of fine arts (by example following the structure and the terminology of Art and Architecture Thesaurus) connecting Bulgarian and other European languages.

Iliyana Nedkova

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