The Challenges of Digital Museum

The Challenges of Digital Museum

Richard Yu-Chang Li (School of Information and Communication Technology, Griffith University, Australia) and Alan Wee-Chung Liew (School of Information and Communication Technology, Griffith University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch486
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From time immemorial, traditional museum exhibits have always been limited to leading the audience into showrooms to view the physical collections. However, due to the limitations of factors such as exhibition space, venues, and schedules, the total numbers of direct contacts with exhibits is in the minority. For instance, the National Palace Museum (NPM) of Taiwan, which contains more than 650,000 domestic and foreign antiquities, has continuously increased its collections by purchasing or accepting donations of artefacts. The entire collections would take over 30 years to exhibit if each exposition is run for three months at a time (Chou, 2010). In this situation, a museum would seem like an antiquity warehouse, where is inapproachable and distant. Moreover, since antiquities belong to all citizens, the traditional museum has a predicament which owners cannot freely acquire information about their properties. According to the statutes of International Council of Museum (ICOM) (2007):

A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, research, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment. (p.2)

Hence, an important role of a museum is to make its heritages become a part of our life, much like the functions of a library. Based on this aspiration, the digital curation of a museum has become a common pursue in both the academic and public sectors.

In this chapter, we focus on the aspect of user experience and describe strategies that help to enhance a visitor’s on-site experience in a museum through digital technology. We discuss the development of digital curation in cultural expression applications, such as museums and art galleries, focusing on the user experience perspective, and illustrate how the use of technology can increase the communication and interaction between viewers and collections in museums and art galleries. We point out the gaps of current development, and discuss direction for further research.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Museum: Digital museum is a museum exhibition platform that utilizes computer and information technology, on which cultural relics and historical collections can be preserved and displayed in digital format. It is one of the main outcomes of digital curation.

Re-Combinative Digital Collection: This refers to a flexible form of digital collections in which the digital components or contents can be assembled and disassembled to suit different purpose or goal.

User-Oriented Digital Museum: This refers to the concept of human central experience in the digital museum framework. In a user-oriented digital museum, the focus is on the intellectual connection with its viewers rather than on the collections only.

Data Repackaging: This refers to the repackaging of existing digital information into a flexible format or form that creates new value. Flexible digital information may increase the function of value delivery by allowing the data to be used for different purposes and in different applications.

Casual Information Visualization: Casual InfoVis involves the presentation of information using computer mediated visualization tools which targets both professional and non-professional users.

Digital Curation: Digital curation is a framework of digital information processing and digital content generation involving steps such as digital imaging, object digitization and scanning, and digital visualization and display. The artefacts will be stored in a digital format with metadata description for further retrieval.

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