Digital Museums in 3D Virtual Environment

Digital Museums in 3D Virtual Environment

Kingkarn Sookhanaphibarn (Ritsumeikan University, Japan) and Ruck Thawonmas (Ritsumeikan University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-040-2.ch042
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Abstract

This chapter aims to present an overview of the field of digital museums and describes the current framework of content management systems feasibly integrated in the museums in 3D virtual environment for assisting visitors to deal with information overload and providing personalized recommendations, content, and services to them. Digital museums in 3D virtual environment are an intriguing alternative to let visitors experience them compared to thousands of existing digital museums that are similar to digital archiving places published in the Internet. Exemplary characteristics of digital museums in Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Second Life are also reviewed and discussed. Moreover, prior classification of visiting styles essential to personalize the museum context and content is described in this chapter.
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Introduction

Nowadays, a hundred of emerging Web-based museums has been proposed to improve preservation of and access to cultural heritage. Their examples are Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney that aims at dynamic and innovative managing and exploring Australia's maritime heritage via http://www.si.edu/museums/ have developed their digital museums where visitors of National Portrait Gallery can search more than 80,000 portrait records from the Catalog of American Portraits and new material is added regularly, and automatically published to the Website after being cataloged and validated.

Similar to other virtual organizations, the museum organizations can exploit the following on-line characteristics:

  • 1.

    Operation with reliability and availability

  • 2.

    Availability for anyone who can access through the Internet

  • 3.

    Convenience for users who are willing to be collaborative

  • 4.

    Reduction of cost for housing and exhibiting artefacts

Since Museums without Walls, one of distant learning projects under the incorporation of academic institutions was launched, the museum context has become significant teaching tool, and the museum itself has become a learning institute. The mission of museums has been changing its major priority from care of collections to management of Web-published content. Consequently, Content Management Systems (CMS) integrated both concepts of user-generated content and social media bursting with Web 2.0 is a key of achievement. The CMS can also engage with the personalization issue to enable the museum context more suitable to individual visitors ranging from school users to senior people with varying preferences and knowledge backgrounds.

For example, Bazley and Leftwich (2009) examined the use of on-line museum resource in schools with a case study from the Museum of London. They proposed the pedagogical integrated CMS through school-users that supports teachers using digital assets and interactive in planning and instruction. Interestingly, some technical difficulties in the inaccessible material via the Internet due to technology and security constraints, or simply lack of awareness were transformed as the supply chain problem. Therefore, some countries such as Australia and Canada funded the agencies working with museum organizations to facilitate the flow of content into classroom environments as addressed by Peacock and Timpson (2009).

With advanced computer graphics and Internet technologies, the 3D virtual environments for digital museums have been found in diverse platforms such as Second Life (SL) (Rothfarb & Doherty, 2007; & Urban, Marty & Twidale, 2007; Carrillo, 2007), 3D interactive virtual galleries in the Web site (Murg, Moritsch, Pensold & Derler, 2008; Amakawa, 2008; Cooper, 2006), 3D virtual reality (Caviedes, et al, 2008; Wilson & Weisbart, 2008), and game engines such”as”Zoo (Schaller, 2009). The 3D virtual environments fulfill the visitors’ needs by enhancing the curatorial and architectural design process, reducing exhibition planning costs and processes, improving the visualization of exhibits, and enabling cross-departmental collaboration. With the rich multimedia spaces such as SL, learning capabilities and social networks for visitors in digital museums are enhanced. Hence, SL will be explored and discussed in the rest of this chapter, after the background section.

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