Digital applications for cultural and heritage institutions; Digital technologies and the museum experience: handheld guides and other media; Museum informatics: people, information and technology in museums

Download Digital applications for cultural and heritage institutions; Digital technologies and the museum experience: handheld guides and other media; Museum informatics: people, information and technology in museums

Post on 16-Feb-2017

212 views

Category:

Documents

0 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Waterloo]On: 10 October 2014, At: 20:58Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    International Journal of HeritageStudiesPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rjhs20

    Digital applications for culturaland heritage institutions; Digitaltechnologies and the museumexperience: handheld guides andother media; Museum informatics:people, information and technology inmuseumsJulian D. Richards aa University of YorkPublished online: 11 Oct 2010.

    To cite this article: Julian D. Richards (2010) Digital applications for cultural and heritageinstitutions; Digital technologies and the museum experience: handheld guides and other media;Museum informatics: people, information and technology in museums, International Journal ofHeritage Studies, 16:6, 527-529, DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2010.505055

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2010.505055

    PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE

    Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.

    This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,

    http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rjhs20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/13527258.2010.505055http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2010.505055

  • systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f W

    ater

    loo]

    at 2

    0:58

    10

    Oct

    ober

    201

    4

    http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • International Journal of Heritage StudiesVol. 16, No. 6, November 2010, 527529

    ISSN 1352-7258 print/ISSN 1470-3610 onlineDOI: 10.1080/13527258.2010.505055http://www.informaworld.com

    BOOK REVIEW

    Taylor and Francis LtdRJHS_A_505055.sgm10.1080/13527258.2010.505055International Journal of Heritage Studies1352-7258 (print)/1470-3610 (online)Book Review2010Taylor & Francis166000000November 2010JulianRichardsjdr1@york.ac.ukDigital applications for cultural and heritage institutions, edited by James Hemsley,Vito Cappellini and Gerd Stanke, Aldershot and Burlington, Ashgate, 2005, xxiii + 305pp., UK65.00 (hardback), ISBN 0-7546-3359-4

    Digital technologies and the museum experience: handheld guides and othermedia, edited by Loc Tallon and Kevin Walker, Plymonth, Altamira Press, 2008,xxv + 238 pp., US$75.00 (hardback), ISBN 0-7591-1119-6); $27.95 (paperback);ISBN 0-7591-1121-9

    Museum informatics: people, information and technology in museums, edited byPaul F. Marty and Katherine Burton Jones, New York and Abingdon, Routledge,Taylor & Francis, 2008, xiii + 340 pp., UK80.00 (hardback), ISBN 0-8247-2581-5;26.99 (paperback), ISBN 0-415-80218-5

    Advances in digital technologies and information management have provided some ofthe greatest challenges to face museum and cultural heritage professionals over thelast 30 years. How to make the most of opportunities, without letting the medium takeover the message, how to meet audience expectations, how to equip and train staff,how to pay for it all, and how to keep up, are all pressing questions for many organi-sations. Furthermore, this is a relatively new field, without a vast literature to turn to.These three collections of papers each try to address this gap, and are aimed at thosewho work, or aim to work, in museums or cultural heritage institutions. How success-ful are they?

    Digital applications for cultural and heritage institutions, edited by Hemsley,Cappellini and Stanke, is the most wide-ranging volume and the least useful. It is effec-tively a miscellany of papers, presented at EVA (Electronic Imaging and the VisualArts) conferences over the years. The first EVA conference was held in London in1990, but over 60 EVA conferences had been held throughout world by 2004, with thescope broadened to embrace cultural heritage and performing arts. This book containsa small selection of 30 contributions from over 1000 papers presented between 2000and 2003, updated where possible. Its stated aims are to provide a panorama of leadingdevelopments in the field of culture and ICT, to show how these constitute a genuineinternational movement; to present the cultural sector as a technology driver not justa passive receiver; and to encourage cross-border collaboration. The papers aregrouped into several categories: strategic projects; cooperative projects; virtual realitymodelling; digital archiving; design, retrieval and protection; special needs; and inter-active technologies, although not all fit easily within those labels. The editors alsoprovide an introduction and conclusion but do not explain why these papers wereselected, and there is little attempt to provide a consistent overview or stance. In truththey are rather a disparate bunch. EVA was supported by the European Commissionand the volume features many EU-funded projects, such as DigiCULT, ArchTerra,

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f W

    ater

    loo]

    at 2

    0:58

    10

    Oct

    ober

    201

    4

  • 528 Book review

    CHIMER, and HITITE. However, to the uninitiated the context of these projects willbe as bewildering as the acronyms. Furthermore, EVA is just one of many annualconferences in the sector (one might also mention the VAST International Symposiumon Virtual Reality, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, Computer Applications inArchaeology, or the meetings of the Museum Computer Network) and so the sampleis distorted to begin with. The papers also reflect that they were originally written asshort conference papers so tend to be interim project reports, written by the proponentsof the projects. A critical overview and primer to the wealth of recent cultural heritageICT projects funded by the European Commission would have been useful but wouldrequire editorial coverage which provided pointers as to context, take-up and signifi-cance. DigiCULT, for example, has had a long-lasting impact; others projects citedhere have not. In short one must agree with the editors that the efforts of the previoustwenty years in the culture and technology field may seem a bewildering set of diverseand unrelated initiatives (p. 295). This volume does not lessen the bewilderment andwould best be avoided by the novice to the field.

    Digital technologies and the museum experience: handheld guides and othermedia, edited by Tallon and Walker, is more focussed and more useful. The biggesttrend in museum exhibit design today is the creative incorporation of technology. Thiscompendium explores the potential of mobile technologies (cell phones, digitalcameras, MP3 players, PDAs) for visitor interaction and learning. It comprises 11contributions from different authors across the world and although they write fromtheir own experiences a number of common themes emerge. Handheld mobile devicescan be personalised more than kiosks, and it is noted that most visitors already have amobile phone or iPod. These devices can also be location aware, and sensitive to theamount of time that a visitor wants to spend in an exhibit, although a downside is thataudio headsets can curtail interaction between visitors. Nonetheless, there is anemphasis on interaction, with the visitor being able to select, and even create their ownmessage, rather than following an imposed wisdom. Such technologies have thepotential to remove the walls of a museum. The visitor experience can continuebeyond, and outside perspectives can be brought in, both before and after a visit. Over-all, the compendium provides a good introduction to design and theoretical issues, butthere is less consideration of logistics and cost. This is not a textbook and one wouldstruggle to find a single voice; nonetheless it usefully highlights many of the issuesthat should be considered by museums or cultural attractions intending to embark onthis path.

    For the best introduction to ICT in museums, however, readers should turn toMuseum informatics, edited by Paul Marty and Katherine Burton Jones, convenientlyavailable in softback. This is an extremely well organised volume, which is well refer-enced and has a comprehensive bibliography. The editors are authoritative and provideuseful insights into the role of technology. They have also brought together a numberof contributors, clearly carefully selected for their expertise on specific topics, whichalso gives this volume a good international perspective. Marty provides an introduc-tion to each of seven sections, explaining the context and providing a way into thewider literature. After Martys introduction to the overall field, Burton Jones contrib-utes an historical perspective on the evolution of the digital museum. This is invaluableas in order to understand where we are now one needs to know how we got there. Thesecond section is on information representation, and David Bearman provides anexcellent introduction to the development of museum data models, while DarrenPeacock shows information must be at the core of delivery to multiple audiences. This

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f W

    ater

    loo]

    at 2

    0:58

    10

    Oct

    ober

    201

    4

  • International Journal of Heritage Studies 529

    leads logically into section three, on information management. Here Diane Zorichdraws on her experience as an information management consultant to explain whymuseums should have an information policy and what it is. She also covers legalissues, although this is primarily written from a US perspective. Next, Baca, Coburnand Hubbard from the Getty Trust provide a clear and comprehensive introduction tometadata standards, explaining why these are just as important to the museums as tothe library sector. This takes us to interactive exhibits. Maria Economou provides anoverview of the range of technologies, of which the handheld devices discussed inTallon and Walker provide a small part. Galani and Chalmers write about the MACKroom, a case study that blurs the distinction between a real and virtual visit to amuseum, based on the Mackintosh Interpretation Centre in Glasgow. This leads intoa section on audiences and user needs with a contribution by Ellenborgen, Falk andGoldman on motivations of visitors, followed by another Glasgow-based case studyon taking museums into the classroom, by Jim Devine at the Hunterian Museum. Thepenultimate section addresses the need for museums to collaborate in order to meetincreasing expectations. Dewhurst and Sumption reflect on the pioneering experienceof AMOL (Australian Museums Online), whilst Rinehart and White discuss the chal-lenges of collaboration, based on their experience in California. The volume concludeswith three forward-looking essays: Marty on the role of the information professionalin the museum; Jennifer Trant on the role of museums in networked information space,or cyberinfrastructures; and a look into the future from Maxwell Anderson, authorof the introduction to The wired museum, published in 1997. This is fitting, as Museuminformatics in a worthy successor to that earlier compendium. Of the three editedvolumes reviewed here it is the one volume that should be read by all culture heritageprofessionals, and that one that I would recommend to all my students as an essentialprimer and text book on the role and potential of computing in museums.

    Julian D. RichardsUniversity of York

    jdr1@york.ac.uk 2010, Julian D. Richards

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f W

    ater

    loo]

    at 2

    0:58

    10

    Oct

    ober

    201

    4

Recommended

View more >