The sense of smell is a fundamental part of our access to the world. More than any other sense, it is directly linked to our emotions and memories. In the context of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, however, it has not yet played a role.
In the Odeuropa project, cultural, historical and literary scholars, chemists, museologists and computer scientists are working together to preserve and reconstruct Europe’s olfactory heritage. Olfactory references are automatically extracted from an extensive corpus of texts and images from the 17th to 20th centuries using artificial intelligence methods. The multi-modal information thus obtained will be stored in the “European Olfactory Knowledge Graph (EOKG)” according to the standards of the “semantic web” in order to make it usable for processing in the form of ‘storylines’.
These are processed and made available to the public in various formats: As an “Encyclopedia of European Smell Heritage”, as an interactive notebook application for exploration of the data, and in the form of toolkits and trainings for the museum mediation of olfactory heritage.
The project team at FAU is concerned with visual olfactory references in works of art from the 17th to the 20th century. In a first step, visual representations and meanings of olfactory references will be identified. Using computer vision methods, procedures will be developed to automatically extract objects, motifs and iconographies with olfactory references from extensive digital collections.
News about this project
Prof. Dr. Andrea Büttner (Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy)
Dr. Helene Loos (Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy)