The Cyberdocent


How might we use advanced networked technologies in museums?
How might they be used to improve the experience for visitors to the museum?

We are investigating these questions through a careful analysis of what currently happens in museums and how we might want to build on or change that. We think that much can be learned from studying the kind of things that docents do when they give a guided tour. We are not proposing that museums should replace docents, but rather that they should serve as a starting point for considering the kinds of functionalities that computer systems should be provided with. This approach tries to avoid the technology-driven obsession of much innovative use of advanced technologies and instead to explore the design space of possibilities with a stronger focus on what could and should be built based on user needs.

Some papers and reports:

Rayward, W.B. & Twidale, M.B. (1999). From Docent to Cyberdocent: Education and Guidance in the Virtual Museum. Archives and Museum Informatics 13(1) 23-53. Also Technical Report ISRN UIUCLIS--1999/8+CSCW.
An introduction to the idea of the cyberdocent.

Twidale, M.B. & Cheverst, K. (2000). Exploring the design space of networked technologies. Paper presented at "Technologies that cross boundaries: exploring the gap between wireless networks, bits, interfaces and work practices" Workshop at CSCW2000, Philadelphia.
Consideration of the usd of scenario based design and comparing museum visitors and city tourists uses of networked technologies.

Twidale, M.B. (2000). Cyberdocents: an exploration of education and guidance in and around museums.
A research proposal to explore the idea, focusing on the potential of wireless PDAs.



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