The MiCorr Decision Support System (DSS) has been designed to help users refine their diagnosis on metal artefacts by searching, from corrosion forms observed, for existing case studies and corrosion forms within the MiCorr database. They also have the possibility to enrich this database by submitting new objects sheets.
Before starting using MiCorr, we recommend any user to look at:
- The Tour which gives an introduction to the philosophy of the MiCorr application.
- The About tab of the top menu which presents the context of the project, its methodology and the
development / coordination / administration / reading committee
- The Scientific bases tab of the top menu which gives the knowledge required on metals
(composition and corrosion) and the analytical tools used to investigate them to operate properly
the MiCorr application. Specific analytic techniques are further detailed in each object sheet.
Specific terminologies (in orange colour and underlined) used in the different sections of the application are explained by moving the mouse and clicking on them. These terminologies are compiled in the glossary under Learn tab.
Three Search tools are used to search for existing case studies and corrosion forms of the database:
- By keywords
- By visual inspection
- By stratigraphy representation
To avoid any formatting problems, we strongly recommend that you use the latest version of Google Chrome.
The search engine "By keywords" enables users to enter keywords or select filters (country, metal family, corrosion forms and environment) to speed up the search for case studies and corrosion forms. Results are presented in the form of a table providing information on metal family, alloy composition, object type, object name, origin, chronology, technology and artefact location. The complete object sheet for each case study/corrosion form proposed is accessible by clicking anywhere on it.
The search engine "By visual inspection" enables users to identify the family of the metal of the object observed. Starting from the general appearance of the metal surface (metal visible, partially visible, non visible), the user follows a decision chain with series of questions/answers which direct him.her to a final proposal that he.she can validate through descriptive sheets of metal families. The user follows his.her progression through the list of most likely metals and excluded metals.
The search engine "By stratigraphy representation" is based on the digital construction of stratigraphies documented during the visual observation of artefacts and their local probing via Bertholon’s method (Bertholon 2000) or a sample of the corrosion form observed on cross-section. A graphical user interface allows the digital construction of stratigraphies using encoded building blocks (see Stratigraphy construction). New corrosion forms are first described according to the strata (metal, corroded metal, corrosion layers etc) structure and the characteristics/sub-characteristics of each stratum (morphology, microstructure, texture etc). The MiCorr application is used then to compare the newly built digital stratigraphy of the corrosion structure studied with those of case studies/corrosion forms stored in its database (from preliminary or comprehensive investigations of historic and archaeological artefacts). The comparison is based on the ratio of shared characteristics and the total number of characteristics in the artefact. A comparison score has been created to determine the closest match with database entries. Results are presented in the form of a table giving access either to the complete object sheet for each case study/corrosion form or its corresponding digital stratigraphy (built using the search tool by stratigraphy representation). Scores can be improved by highlighting the values of sub-characteristics, changing from one mode of observation (binocular or cross-section) and extending the comparison to the data of the user's profile.
The terminology used to build a stratigraphy of strata is explained when needed.
The five possible users are described below:
- Visitor: a user visiting the application without registering. He.she can contact an author of an
object sheet and share object(s) sheet(s) with other visitors.
The online MiCorr interface has been developed so that the application is accessible to everyone. Existing case studies/corrosion forms in MiCorr database can be consulted using search engines without registering but any contribution requires the user to register.
- Contributor: registered user. He.she can create new artefacts and get access to other authors’
artefacts to modify them.
Any new stratigraphy built by a user who has registered is saved under the contributor’s profile. By clicking on Contribute, registered users have the possibility to build their own case study/corrosion form (named object sheet) illustrated by the stratigraphies built. Again the objects sheets are saved under the contributor’s profile and the contributor has the possibility to share any artefact with any visitor/contributor of the MiCorr application.
It is the decision of the contributor to make any object sheet available to other MiCorr users. To achieve this, the object sheet has to be submitted to the administration committee. The submission of new objects sheets should ultimately improve and enrich the database and make the MiCorr interface a better performing Decision Support System.
According to their background, contributors to MiCorr application will not use the search engine "By stratigraphy representation" in the same way. Conservators who work directly on objects might have access to more sub-characteristics of the different strata (except the metal) than corrosion scientists/archaeometallurgists who often work only on cross-sections of samples embedded in a resin. Although the sub-characteristics should be completely filled out for a better matching between the stratigraphy of an unknown object and of case studies/corrosion forms of the MiCorr database, we recommend to leave any sub-characteristic field blank if the corresponding information is not available.
- Collaborator: expert who collaborates with a visitor, a contributor or an author and who can
become a contributor.
- Author: a contributor who has created an object sheet.
- Administrators: constituting the administration committee. It comprises the main
administrator who has the right to publish online objects sheets and delegated administrators
who act as experts to validate or refuse an artefact. All administrators can create new objects sheet.
Conservators who do not have access to analytical techniques still have the possibility to submit an object sheet containing information on the object studied, macroscopic observations and the corresponding stratigraphy (binocular mode). Such objects sheets are specified among the list of available ones.
More complete objects sheets are expected from conservation scientists or/and archaeometallurgists.