Contexts, contextuality and digital preservation
An astronaut faces a problem during a space mission. Can he benefit from lessons of similar situations in the past? Or, installation details are key to the proper interpretation of digital artworks. How does digital curation record and convey an artist's intent and attitude?
We are interested in events embedded in contexts. Modelling contexts is related to an alternative probability theory that goes back to the earliest foundations of quantum mechanics. Events with contextual probabilities project on subspaces of a mathematical space, something they cannot leave afterwards, i.e. those subspaces become their context. Thereby it is an interpretation option to consider contextual probability as capturing situations, where both successive and separated co-occurrences can record elements thereof.
The research question then is, if context leads to contextuality, a property of quantum-like systems, how far can the underlying analytical method be applied to our systems, i.e., how far are they quantum-like? Because of a variety of contexts which are all potentially pertinent for information representation – e.g., linguistic, social, cognitive –, contextuality is key to improving models of digital preservation to enable reuse and access of knowledge. Small wonder that one of the aims of PERICLES is to develop the mathematical and computational tools to enhance archiving and retrieval models by contextuality.
*The image is a courtesy of NASA