Using mobile phones to map online community resources to a physical museum space

Collins, Trevor D.; Mulholland, Paul and Zdrahal, Zdenek (2009). Using mobile phones to map online community resources to a physical museum space. International Journal of Web Based Communities, 5(1) pp. 18–32.



The use of mobile technologies to support museum visitors has primarily been concerned with the adoption of the technology as an information device. This has been found in several evaluation studies to promote a 'heads-down' interaction with the device, rather than a 'hands-on' interaction with the museum exhibits. This article presents an application where museum visitors use their own mobile phones to send a text message that bookmarks the things they find interesting during their visit. Afterwards, they can explore a personalised set of online resources which are organised as a series of presentation structures that are tailored according to their identified interests. This enables the visitors to engage fully with the museum exhibits during their visit, knowing that they can find out more information online on any topic they request. In this application, the resources are produced by an online community of interest that is associated with the museum. The community knowledge base is repurposed to fit the needs of the museum visitors. The visitors' use of these resources is fed back to the source community which, in turn, informs and motivates its ongoing content production.

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