Srieedar, J., & Khoo, C.S.G. (2013). A user study of the Singapore Memory Portal to derive a taxonomy for content organization. In Proceedings of the 2013 Digital Heritage International Congress, 28 Oct-1 Nov 2013, Marseille, France (IEEE catalog no. CFP1308W-USB, pp. 297-305). [PDF]


This paper reports an initial user study of a cultural heritage portal called Singapore Memory Portal that was set up in Singapore to collect people’s memories related to the history, culture, society, life and landscape of Singapore’s past. The study sought to find out users’ expectations of the content of the portal, how they search and browse the portal, and what they learn about particular historical or cultural topics from reading postings in the portal. The goal is to derive a taxonomy to organize the portals’ content for browsing and learning.

For this initial study, 12 Singapore citizens were interviewed to find out what topics and subtopics they expected to be in the Singapore Memory Portal, and what they thought were the themes related to national identity, as one of the goals of the portal is to foster a sense of national identity. A taxonomy of terms/concepts with eleven top-level categories is derived from the users’ responses. This can serve as the top-level browse structure for the Singapore Memory Portal. It is suggested that some of categories may also be relevant to crowd-sourced heritage portals in other countries.

The portals also do not support users in learning and synthesizing an understanding of a heritage topic. They do not suggest different aspects or attributes of a heritage topic, and relations to other topics. Accordingly, we asked the participants in our study to search for memory postings on two topics, and tell us what they learnt from the memories. From their responses, we identified eleven attributes or relations that represent salient aspects of the topics we selected, which included an annual national event, a historically significant place and service, a cultural/religious festival, and life in the past. We propose that these attributes and relations can be used to create a kind of mind map (or an informal ontology) to indicate different aspects of a topic and its relation to other topics.