Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

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Museums & the Web 2007 papers online / Fantoni on museum ‘bookmarking’

March 26th, 2007 by Seb Chan

The first batch of papers for Museums & the Web have gone online.

Picking the first one to read at random, I chose Silvia Fillipini Fantoni’s paper on “Bookmarking in museums”.

I am interested in this area as we developed a prototype mobile phone object bookmarking application just over two years ago but never rolled it out. There were many reasons and in the end the greatest barrier to implementation was the resistance from teachers to allowing students to carry and use mobile phones during a museum visit. Another reason was the difficulty in finding a ‘free call’ SMS service number – without which users would have needed to pay for each ‘bookmark’ through their mobile plan (and unlike America, all you can eat SMS plans are not that common or cheap).

Fantoni’s paper is an excellent reality check for those building personalisation tools for their museum website with the expectation that users will surely want to bookmark things to come back to later. She argues that the usage of bookmarking tools is small, generally much lower than initially expected. Bookmarking is an activity not done by the ‘general public, possibly because of lack of awareness, promotion, and an understanding of what ‘bookmarking’ actually offers or means. Despite this, such tools may be useful for specific dedicated audiences – especially teachers.

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