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Visitors' contributions as cultural heritage: designing for participation

TitleVisitors' contributions as cultural heritage: designing for participation
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsCiolfi, L., Fernström M., & Bannon L.
Secondary TitleInternational Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting - ICHIM07: Proceedings
Conference Start DateOctober 24-26
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedToronto, Ontario, Canada
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordsinteraction design, participation, public exhibitions, ubiquitous computing, user-generated content, visitors experience

In this paper we discuss our approach to designing two public exhibitions, where our goal has been that of facilitating and supporting visitors' own contributions to the exhibits. The approach behind our work sees the role of technology that is supporting people's experiences of heritage as moving away from delivery of information, and towards enabling visitors to create the content of the exhibit. This approach is aimed at encouraging active reflection, discussion and appropriation, in the tradition of human-centred interaction design. In the paper we present two installations, "Re-Tracing the Past" and the "Shannon Portal". The former was aimed at supporting visitors' experiences of a museum collection; the latter had the goal of encouraging visitors and travelers to share their experiences of Ireland. We then discuss the impact of this design strategy, and analyse the role of visitors' contributions to each exhibit, and the particular interactions between participants, the content they produced and other people's contributions that took place around the two exhibits.