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    Exploring the Digital Museum

    Dr. Ana Sanchez Laws

    Associate Professor

    Faculty of Arts and Physical Education

    Volda University College

  • +A tectonic shift?

    Once a visitor carries a fully

    searchable encyclopaedia in their

    pocket (not to mention access to

    all our collection including the

    objects not on display), the whole

    idea of a museum and how it

    could and should be designed

    changes In my view these are

    long term tectonic shifts in the

    move from 'collections to

    services'. (Chan 2011)

    Seb Chan / Fresh+New blog

  • +Digital Heritage

    Resources of human knowledge or expression are increasingly created digitally, or converted into digital form from existing analogue resources. Where resources are born digital, there is no other format but the digital original. Digital materials include texts, databases, still and moving images, audio, graphics, software, and web pages, among a wide and growing range of formats. They are frequently ephemeral, and require purposeful production, maintenance and management to be retained. Many of these resources have lasting value and significance, and therefore constitute a heritage that should be protected and preserved for current and future generations. This heritage may exist in any language, in any part of the world, and in any area of human knowledge or expression. (Webb 2003)

    Digital heritage is material primarily stored and retrieved in binary format. It may be the product of an analogue to digital conversion or it may be born digital (originate and remain exclusively within the digital domain), and it can include both analogue and digital components. The key difference between digital heritage and other forms of heritage lies in its binary format, which demands distinctive approaches to the conservation of its significance and value.

    UNESCO Alternative

  • +Digital Heritage Sustainability

    Humanity has the ability to

    make development sustainable

    to ensure that it meets the

    needs of the present without

    compromising the ability of

    future generations to meet their

    own needs (Brundtland,

    Environment, and Development


    Digital heritage sustainability

    involves the collaborative

    maintenance, enrichment and

    enjoyment of digital heritage

    resources over periods of time

    that span across generations. It

    involves the maintenance of the

    integrity of data and metadata

    in binary format, and the

    maintenance of the digital

    technologies that make these

    data and metadata accessible

    to the broadest range of


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    Understanding contexts

    Investigating policy and archives, economic factors, social and

    political factors

    To map changing concepts of trust, privacy,


    To understand when policies promote or

    hinder digital heritage sustainability

    Investigating services providers and

    technology companies

    As drivers of change with or without the

    participation of the community of heritage


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    Identifying stakeholders

    Identifying roles and their levels of decision-making

    Understanding networks of

    accountability and stewardship

    Mapping commonalities and


    Identifying homogeneity of


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    digital practices

    Understanding evaluation instruments

    (i.e. analytics packages)

    Identifying traditional and emerging


    Identifying technological features

    as producing new rules and constraints

    Identifying future technological needs

    Understanding the computational modelling of responsibility

  • +Contexts

    How do the various economic, political and social drivers

    impact the way in which stakeholders interact around a

    digital heritage resource?

    Do these contexts promote or deter sustainability?

  • +Stakeholders

    Who are the presumed, actual, and expected stakeholders? Who is included, who is excluded?

    What are their roles (technical, curatorial, non-expert, collaborator)?

    How have these roles changed with the use of digital media?

    To what extent do stakeholders share the same goals around the digital heritage resource?

    What roles do stakeholders have in the decision-making process?

    And how does this translate into sustainable or unsustainable management of the digital heritage resource?

  • +Digital practices

    How is digital heritage modelled by the language and technologies a digital media service uses?

    What are the assumptions in the software analytics packages that sit at the backend of these services, and how do they shape museums digital heritage practices?

    How do the types of communication enabled in a given digital media platform contribute to establishing common goals around a digital heritage resource?

    Which curatorial practices are applicable to digital media? Which ones are not?

    Which digital media practices enrich digital heritage, which ones pollute it?

  • +Museum of London

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    Frazer Swift

    Theres a much greater emphasis now on

    engaging learners interactively so rather

    than the museum being a teacher and

    just transmitting information

    Its a two way process and we think much

    more about the learning needs of visitors

    and tailor what we do to their needs we

    tend to talk more about learning than


    Education has connotations of instructions,

    whereas what we want to do is have a

    dialogue with people as opposed to

    being a formal didactic approach so we

    use lots of actors and storytellers and

    people doing things as opposed to

    people passively receiving. (Wu 2009)

    Director, Clore Learning Centre

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    Image sources: Museum of London, Ana Sanchez Laws

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    Cathy Ross:

    Our whole story of London needed refreshment. The old galleries tell the story of London in quite an inward looking way: it was the story of the city, of the infrastructure, the roads, the search, the transport, very much looking inwards. These galleries were done in the 1970s 80s and 90s so there were some stories that we are interested in today, like migration and identity, that were just not in there. We wanted to tell a new story of London with new emphasis on it, new points of interest. We have two narratives. One is Londons relationship with the world so it is much more outwards looking we have these two big narratives: London and the world and the other one is London and people, people coming to London from the world. In both of these we wanted very much to underline change, so we have got how London changes the world how the world changes London and how people change London and London changes people. (Wu 2009)

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    RenderingPlanned redesign of caf area

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    Completed caf area

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    Interactive in twentieth century

    galleriesUsing multitouch screens to present Charles Booths map of

    London Poverty in 1887-9

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    World War 2 display

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    Image sources: Museum of London, Ana Sanchez Laws

    Old galleries Redesigned galleries

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    Bilkis Mosodik:

    Our site is not tailored for just one general visitor. There is the visitor, tourists, the researchers, academics, students who want to research and then we have other museums who want to find out what we are doing. It is four audiences rather than one so each part is tailored towards different audiences. Our learning section would be very different from exhibition section, but our collection section is quite different, because that is for researchers The whole site is not one audience: each part of the site has different voice for different audiences and needs (Wu 2009)



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    Bilkis Mosodik:

    (The blog helps) reach out to people

    as MOL employees and showcase the

    expertise within the MOL. We are not

    just about artefacts and gallery

    exhibition events, we are actually more

    than that: we are expertise. Every

    curator has an expertise that is

    valuable, and is showcasing that. (Wu





  • + Cathy RossWe are not typical of London museums, we are

    not about collections of objects but about

    stories and every object has to be eloquent

    about the story of London. We have never been

    about collections of objects but about

    engagement and you may say that is the

    corporate culture. (Wu 2009)

  • +Augmenting the Garden of Australian Dreams

    (GoAD) at the National Museum of Australia (NMA)

    Ana Sanchez Laws / Stephen Barrass

    In collaboration with Cath Styles at NMA and 150 students from Cross Media

    Production, UC

  • The GOAD project Stephen Barrass, Ana Sanchez Laws

  • +The Tasks

    1. Walk around and find out what is there.

    2. While walking around think about a Journey through the space that could be connected to form a story of some kind.

    3. Select at least 5 waypoints along the Journey - graphic, sculptural, geographic, sonic, etc.

    4. Document each waypoint using any or all of photos, sound recordings, sketches and notes.

    5. Take focussed, close up, evenly lit photos of each waypoint that can be used for image-based search and recognition using Google Googles or Layar Vision.

    6. Take a note of the location and/or GPS coordinates of each waypoint.

    7. Upload the material to ABC Pool

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  • +Evaluation

    Use case scenarios

    "- I would hope that there would be access to a strong wifi connection to make browsing layar easy.

    - I would hope that the weather would be slightly cloudy so that use of the device would be easier - e.g. there would be no sun glare on the screen causing the users vision be impacted negatively.

    - I would hope that all of the webapp content is placed correctly, so not to cause any confusion and to keep continuity and also that all links were working and up to date.

    - I would hope that all of the journeys were created thoughtfully and in a way that interests all users."

  • +Evaluation

    Expert heuristic evaluation

    "GOAD Portal Redesign Of The Design and Layout: The My Journey projects are quite visually appealing, and engaging pieces of work, that the GOAD Portal home pages should reflect the tone of the works about to be viewed. This will consist of a different colour scheme throughout the site, modern aesthetic features and include more references to the museum.

    Instructions: Step by step directions that detail the My Journey process. Steps will detail navigation to the museum, GOAD instructions, Layar accessibility and Descriptions of common terms.

    Simple Markers: Consistent waypoint markers will reduce clutter within the map, and document journeys in an orderly fashion.

    Marker Key/Index: A marker key or index will make it easier for viewers to differentiate waypoints. Key could vary from a number, colours, and icon system.

    Less Journeys: Fewer journeys will effectively reduce the clutter of waypoints on the map, and points that appear when viewed in Layar. Fewer waypoints also means efficient download time and improve accessibility to the site.

    Filters and Tags: A search system regarding waypoint content makes navigation throughout the site and map more efficient.

    Audio Waypoints: Audio elements could be introduced in order to cater to a larger sgment of audience, ranging from children who arent adept to reading and/or the vision impaired audience."

  • +Evaluation

    User observation

    "User Observation

    1. Discuss how well the user performed the task, and what you observed in the process The tester knew how to get to the web apps but she had trouble clicking on any of the inks. She then eventually zoomed out to fix the problem but she took a while to find Citrusurfer's waypoint due to my lack of communicating the location properly. Once she found the link it was all good from there. She read the waypoint and once she was done she found Artshesaid's waypoint. There was no link to the web app but after being informed of the url she was able to easily navigate her way through the web app. The tester found it easier to navigate after a few attempts of having a go at the map to figure out the controls. Once she had that down pat it was all good from there.

    2. Did the user testing uncover different problems and issues or were they as predicted in the expert heuristic evaluation ? The tester had difficulty differentiating and locating the web apps from one another as there are a lot that appear in clusters all over the map. She had difficulty controlling the map as predicted in the heuristic evaluation and also discover Artshesaid's missing link. Other than that there were no major issues.

    3. Based on your combined observations, how would you improve the WebApp to improve the performance in the task ? To improve the web app I would make navigation clear and introduce the function of searching for a particular app to make navigation easier instead of looking at each waypoint through the clutter. A search bar would make a world of difference, maybe even a section with key words to find each way point or a list of the waypoint next to the map that will show where each waypoint is when you hover/click on it."

  • +Final filtering

    Students were asked to 'favorite' journeys from their peers

    The top journeys were then distributed amongst an expert

    panel (a curator, an official from NMA, the instructors, and

    guest lecturers).

    The panel selected 10 journeys which were collected in Layar

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  • +Bazingas journey

    Waypoint 1 - Home

  • +Bazingas journey

    Waypoint 2 - Fence

  • +Redesign of one journey in Aurasma

  • +Challenges

    Our students were much more comfortable producing media

    than evaluating it; participation was not as big an issue as

    filtering or cataloguing content

    Peer-review may help with scaling problems, but experts need

    to guide the process

    Experimenting, failing, learning, re-doing, un-doing are the

    pathways to innovation universities want to support this


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    The Wearable Museum,

    a.k.a. Perfect Memory?

    Antecedents: MIT Wearable

    Computing Lab

  • +

    3D models of prehistoric tools, by Smithsonian Exhibits Central

    Thomas Jefferson replica (3D printed)

    Smithsonian National Museum of

    African-American History

    3D printing

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    Ever-Lasting Storage Media for Digital Information?

  • +Digital Treasures PhD Program

  • Some Thoughts fromBenklers The Wealth of Networks

    Ostroms Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework

  • For Benkler, there is an emerging networked information economy,

    which is:

    1. an economy centered on information and cultural production, and

    the manipulation of symbols.

    2. a communications environment interconnected in a pervasive

    networkthe phenomenon we associate with the Internet.

    Benkler, Y. 2006, The Wealth of Networks: How social production transforms markets and freedom.

    New Haven: Yale University Press. Also released under a Creative Commons License.

  • Decentralization and the rise of the soft digital products is key

  • culture is becoming

    more democratic: self...