April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Demonstrations: Description

TAP: A Hybrid CMS-Mobile Tour Architecture for multi-platform interactive content

Edward Bachta, Indianapolis Museum of Art, USA
Daniel Incandela, Indianapolis Museum of Art
Rob Stein, Indianapolis Museum of Art, USA

It should come as no surprise that many museums are actively pursuing mobile tour platforms. With the explosion of smartphones and other mobile devices, the extension of museum content to a users’ own device is an obvious extension of existing efforts. Previous presentations in the field and notably the case studies documented as part of the Tate Handheld Conference ( have given us examples to follow, and insight into how mobile content can enhance user experience.

No one would deny, however that this area is still very much in development. Very few of these projects have addressed how museums might start to see mobile content development as part of their everyday workflows. How can we construct systems that make mobile tours easy to author and maintain? We know that mobile device technology is changing very rapidly. How can we ensure data portability and preservation for the content that we create and how might we adapt it successfully to next generation hardware platforms?

TAP is a mobile tour platform developed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art which proposes one model by which many of these concerns might be addressed. A hybrid CMS-Mobile tour system, TAP uses familiar models for web content development to support the creation of mobile tours. By doing so, TAP makes it easy for content creators to develop, update and maintain multiple simultaneous mobile tours.

A key component missing from the museum mobile tour landscape is the existence of platform independent metadata standard for mobile tours. In seeking to provide platform independent tours and portable tour content, the IMA worked with members of the MuseumMobile Wiki ( to develop an initial specification. TourML (pronounced turmoil) is a proposal for metadata middleware which can be produced by a variety of authoring tools and consumed by device clients. The TAP tour platform is one example of this end-to-end system. TAP renders completed tours into a platform neutral TourML description which is then deployed to an iPod application for display.

This demo will present the TourML spec and possible use scenarios as well as discussion about how this spec might be extended and enhanced for unique applications. We will also present data from the initial deployment of TAP in conjunction with an IMA exhibition entitled "Sacred Spain". Because TAP monitors user interactions, we will present detailed data highlighting user patterns and behaviors. The demo will also discuss the implementation process of mobile tours using this proposed model and how such a system would simplify museum content authoring, reuse, preservation and sharing.

Demonstration: Demonstrations - 1 [Close Up]

Keywords: mobile, iPod, tours, software architecture, multi-media, video