Museums and the Web

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Cross Media: When the Web Doesn't Go Alone

TitleCross Media: When the Web Doesn't Go Alone
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsGaia, G., Boiano S., & Pasquali F.
Secondary TitleMuseums and the Web 2005: Proceedings
Conference Start DateApril 13-16
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordsblogs | blogging, broadcast, media, press, radio, TV

The Web is such a powerful and comprehensive medium that we usually consider it as a world apart. But the Web fully develops its potential when combined with other media. For example, when integrated with broadcast media such as radio and TV, it can provide the interactivity and in-depth content that broadcast media cannot offer. On the other hand, broadcast media can provide the massive audience Web sites usually lack. Moreover, digital formats are making media boundaries less and less significant, and increasingly media products (such as TV formats) are thought of as structurally multi-media.

The concept of medium is now crossing the borders of traditional media like radio or newspapers. Pervasive and mediated environments such as conventions, theme parks, and museums are nowadays considered media.

The paper will present case histories of successful and interesting integration of the Web and other media, with a specific focus on cultural usages. For example, a very successful TV program by Channel 4, TimeTeam Big Dig, used the Web to involve its watchers in a vast collective archaeological experiment in the UK, with unexpected results. Also, integration between Web and radio was the key for the success of Lifegate, a small local Italian radio station that combined in a very effective way the different characteristics of the two media. Now one of the most important radio stations in the area, Lifegate simply would not exist without the Web. Another successful case of integration was MuVi, a cultural program from another Italian radio station. MuVi asked people to send old photos to the Web, rapidly creating a vast and valuable on-line visual database of recent Milan history; in this case the radio was key to reach audiences (older people) not reachable via the Web, and to create a sense of community necessary for the collecting operation.

Finally, by examining the main characteristics of the Web as they emerge in comparison to other media, we will have a look at how far the Web has been integrated with the Museum as a medium, trying to get from this analysis some suggestions for future steps in this direction.