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museums have configured. According to the
eMarCon Web site, the project's main goals
- To adapt a set of tools which not only
communicates the experience of visiting
a virtual exhibition, but which commu-
nicates the experience itself via an inter-
active process;
- To allow co-operating museums to
arrange common virtual collections in a
simple online environment;
- To encourage the sustainable development of Europe-wide distributed digital
- To simplify user access through high-tech navigation tools applied to museum
- To provide access to distributed exhibitions, tailored to specific user profiles
(multi-lingual, age, education, etc);
- To promote cutting-edge virtual/multimedia access to museum exhibits and
distributed collections;
- To contribute to pan-European standardisation on the digital representation and
delivery of museum objects;
- To open new channels of finance for museums through eCommerce, via an online
shop, and the licensing of eMarCon software for establishing virtual exhibitions to
other museums.
From a technological point of view, the eMarCon project consists of a database-driven
content management system (CMS) which allows museum experts to combine explana-
tory exhibition information arranged in virtual rooms with artefact information
derived from a CIDOC-standard based object database and multimedia content, one
of the most widespread standards for the description of museum items. Pre-exhibition
cooperation and communication is supported by a commercial groupware solution, Basic
Support for Collaborative Work (BSCW
). Additional system modules include feedback
mechanisms and discussion boards for the visitors, as well as configurable download sec-
tions. An integrated e-shop solution enables the museums to create additional income as
well as to attract visitors by shopping possibilities of unique products.
The server software is divided into six distinct parts, or modules:
1. The museum co-operation module facilitates the co-operation of participating
museums in setting up exhibitions via the Internet;
2. Exhibits and metadata input, allowing participating museums to enter exhibits
and metadata into the museum database;
3. Visitor guidance, helping users keep track of their tour through the virtual
exhibitions. Each exhibition can be experienced taking different routes;
Collaborative Mechanisms
and Technologies
The eMarCon `back office'
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