Many museum collections and other resources have been digitized over the last few decades but they are not used to their full potential. The problem is that digital collections are not standardized, are not available in a common language, and they are not connected. They are isolated silos. Cleo offers a solution for this problem by connecting four major international museum collections, standardizing them by using Thot thesauri, and automatically translating them into English and Dutch. In addition to text search and filtering, image search — which is where the Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes in — is available for finding related objects. The goal is to add more collections and other kinds of sources, make Cleo available in several languages, and to refine the image search.

Cleo is created by social enterprise Aincient, whose mission is to unlock ancient cultures using cutting-edge technology. Our focus lies on ancient Egypt since the founder of Aincient, Heleen Wilbrink, is an Egyptologist. After finishing her studies at the University of Leiden, she pursued a corporate career in the financial industry, and saw the potential of applying the latest technologies to the study of ancient cultures. She founded Aincient to facilitate easier research using the benefits of AI.

The development of Cleo has generously been made possible by the SIDN Fund and the Google Cloud Startup Program. We are grateful to the team of Goldmund, Wyldebeast & Wunderliebe for building the website and tool, to SynerScope for our first prototype, to Thot for the use of their thesauri, and to Leiden University for continuous feedback. Many thanks to the four museum collections for sharing their online collections and for their help and support: the National Museum of Antiquities, the Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Walters Art Museum. And last, but not least, to all people who are helping in many ways to make Cleo a success and to the Global Egyptian Museum for setting an inspiring example.

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