The Aquarelle ProjectGeorge Mallen , System Simulation Ltd, United Kingdom
Mike Stapleton , System Simulation Ltd., United Kingdom
Aquarelle was a European Union assisted project designed to provide an information retrieval service for searching across different cultural database systems with differing database architectures. A broker architecture was implemented in which a central Access Server received queries from user-clients, distributed these to defined
remote data servers, collected the results and passed them back to the user-client. Each query passed through a series of transformations as they were encoded in various protocols. The principal protocols were HTTP, Z39.50 and SGML and the local protocols used at the data servers. There were two main types of data server, Archive
Servers, containing primary information about objects and sites, and Folders, containing authored information usually as SGML documents.
The project was a collaboration involving both technical and data supply partners from the European museum, gallery and monuments communities. Its technical development and demonstration was over the period 1996 - 1998 preceded by a 1 year feasibility and proposal development study. This paper describes the project and speculates on its future application in networked cultural information systems.