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Bluetooth for tracing the position of visitors will have to implement a Wireless Local Area
Network (WLAN) following the IEEE 802.15 standard, with access points connecting the
wireless network to the wired one.They will also require wireless devices (whether PDAs
or cellular phones) for receiving the informational resources, and probably one or more
beam stations for the synchronisation of data between systems.
What Organisational Structures Make the Technology Appropriate?
The implementation of handheld devices in cultural heritage institutions requires careful
preliminary planning as well as costing. A number of questions should be discussed with
staff members during the project, for example:
- How will we select the handheld that best fits our organisation, its needs and its
audience?
- Will users be able to use their own devices, or will we start by lending/hiring our own?
- Will the mobile access devices be used simply as communication tools, or are positioning
features also important?
- In cases where positioning is necessary, what are the distances involved in tracking the
visitors' locations? If visitors will be less than ten metres from the exhibits, Bluetooth,
infra-red devices or smart labels will be suitable. If the distances involved are greater,
GPS should be considered.
- What kind of interface will match the needs of the audience best? Will it be possible
to offer designated guided tours to users with different levels of ability, for instance
visual, auditory or mobility impairments?
- What information delivery methods will work best? These should be considered for
a number of situations and types/sizes of group.
- How will the handheld be used as a means of finding one's way around? Who is
doing the guiding: the visitor, the device, or both?
- How can user interest be tracked for studying visitor response to an exhibition?
- How can we ensure that the new devices do not distract/detract from the exhibits
themselves?
- By providing more information to the visitors, will their appreciation increase, or is
there a danger that they will feel overwhelmed by information?
- Is there enough content to justify the use of mobile devices? Are there similar institu-
tions that could provide feedback and guidance?
- How will information about material held in your institution be linked with material
held at other institutions? How will these links be maintained?
Staffing Levels and User-base Issues
Cultural heritage institutions are unlikely to have staff already in place that will be
capable of overseeing the introduction of such specialised technologies.The great majority
will typically use external organisations for building the technological infrastructure, with
a dedicated member of staff on hand to cope with any questions or problems.
The most demanding role would probably be that of content provision and organisation.
Information delivery will have to be prepared for users.The information model will need
Mobile Access to
Cultural Information
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