A review of image retrieval methods for digital cultural heritage resources

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21 Scopus citations


Purpose - The aim of this paper is to examine related studies to identify which retrieval methods are supported by current digital cultural heritage libraries. In this way it is hoped to provide a direction for future cultural heritage applications to provide more complete and/or improved retrieval functionality. Design/methodology/approach - The methodology of this paper is based on introducing the general concept of image-based retrieval systems as well as their retrieval methods. Then, users' needs are discussed to illustrate the demands of semantic-based retrieval. After the retrieval methods have been presented, current digital cultural heritage libraries are examined in terms of their supported retrieval methods that allow users to query images. Findings - Current digital cultural heritage libraries mostly provide only general retrieval methods based on image-based low-level features, i.e. query by image contents. Very few consider other retrieval methods such as browsing and semantic-based retrieval. In addition, none of the current systems provide all possible retrieval methods for users. Originality/value - This study is the first one to examine image-based retrieval methods in digital cultural heritage libraries. This study supports the improvement of retrieval functionality for digital cultural heritage libraries in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-198
Number of pages14
JournalOnline Information Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007


  • Culture
  • Digital libraries
  • Heritage
  • Information retrieval


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