Museums and the Web

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Multimedia Handhelds: One Device Many Audiences

TitleMultimedia Handhelds: One Device Many Audiences
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsTellis, C.
Secondary TitleMuseums and the Web 2004: Proceedings
Conference Start DateMarch 31 - April
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedWashington DC / Arlington VA, USA
EditorBearman, D., & Trant J.
Keywordsaudio guides, handhelds, multimedia, PDA, sign language, wireless

In 2004, the first fully featured, wireless handheld programs will open at the J. Paul Getty Museum and at several other institutions throughout the world. New pilot programs are under way at Tate Modern, Te Papa Tongarewa, The Royal Institute, and several other sites in Europe, North America and Asia. In these and other locations, the handheld installations are moving well beyond the traditional adult tour and are being used for way finding, chat rooms, bookmarking, disabled visitor access, and interactive family tours. Over the past 12 months there has been a tremendous amount of progress that has moved the wireless handheld platform from the theoretical realm into the practical for museum guides. Third generation user-interfaces are more intuitive, battery issues have been resolved, and museum touring applications have been tested and proven to be stable and effective. This paper looks at the new applications for this platform and describes representative handheld programs at five museums.