constitute the nucleus for a European database of maritime cultural heritage which will
continue to grow, and thus allow scientists to present and compare artefacts in a
European ≠ and perhaps eventually global ≠ dimension.
Copper Mining in Norway ≠ A MUD as a Learning Resource
A former mining town in the Norwegian mountains is preserved in a state of `arrested
decay', i.e. some years after the town was finally abandoned, efforts were made to prevent
any further dilapidation to those buildings that remained.The town is registered as a
national site of historical significance, and welcomes thousands of visitors each year.
The local tourist office receives a large number of enquiries about the town, especially
from schools whose pupils are studying Scandinavia's industrial heritage and who would
like to run field trips to the town. However, most of these potential visitors do not go
through with the proposed trip, and the tourism manager fears that the town's potential is
not being maximised as a result of its geographical isolation and difficult driving conditions.
This assumption is confirmed by some of the entries in the town's guestbook, such as
teachers who visit privately bemoaning the fact that it is impractical to arrange a trip for
Industry and mining forms a significant part of schoolchildren's historical education, and
the area tourist board would like to increase accessibility to the resources of information
held within the town, from information about the formation and mining of copper
itself, to life in the town, its people, society, and the technologies at use.While the Web
site promoting the town already provides some of this information, it does not recreate
the feel of a visit to this historical site, nor the `investigative' learning process undertaken
by visitors to the town.
For these reasons, the tourism board decide to create the opportunity for `virtual visits'
to the town, including many of the aspects of a real visit, such as:
- Learning by exploration ≠ at the visitor's own pace, in the areas of most interest to
- Investigation of objects (buildings, items, paper records, etc) preserved within the
town to learn more about life there in days gone by;
- A sense of history, emphasised by the preserved state of the town;
- Scholarly presentation the history of the town, e.g. explanatory notices for visitors
in some of the buildings, video showings.
It is decided that recreating the town as an online MUD (Multi User Domain) will
enable a truly interactive exploration of the town, and will give virtual visitors a chance
to experience a similar emotional response to the town as a real visitor.The users of the
MUD will be encouraged to visit in groups, just as if they were on a real field trip, thus
creating a community of users who can discover, discuss and share information together.
The MUD would also be a valuable resource for people who have actually visited the
318 For an example of such a town (albeit without its own MUD) please see the mining town of RÝros:
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