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Mobile Access to
Cultural Information
For example, visitors to exhibitions can `self-program' their visit, accessing learning materials
based on their own needs and preferences.The opportunity for a higher level of personal-
isation is particularly significant for visitors with special needs, for example audio descrip-
tions of exhibits. Advanced personalisation using mobile devices has great potential for all
types of cultural and heritage institutions and outdoor sites.The potential for a ubiquitous
connection offered by wireless networks is also significant for users of heritage resources.
No longer is a visitor to a gallery or museum reliant upon the availability of staff in order
to ask a question about an exhibit, nor is a library user reliant upon the availability of a
workstation in order to search the catalogue.
Mobile devices open up other new opportunities, especially in understanding how visitors
use the resources offered. A handheld device can keep track of the resources investigated
by a user (e.g.Web pages) and furthermore can enable the tracking of a visitor's physical
path around an exhibition or outdoor site. It can provide information about which areas
are visited, how long a visitor spends looking at each object, and when exactly in the
course of the visit particular resources are accessed.This detailed examination of user
behaviour is extremely valuable for the evaluation of individual displays, exhibitions and
How Mobile Access Technologies Work
Bluetooth is the name of a standard developed by a group of more than 1000 electron-
ics manufacturers, including Ericsson, Intel, Motorola, Siemens and Toshiba,
which allows different types of electronic equipment (such as computers, peripherals, tele-
phones and interfaces) to be interconnected wirelessly without requiring the user's inter-
vention. Bluetooth is a standard both on the physical level (it uses radio frequency) and as
a communication protocol.
Bluetooth uses the frequency range of 2.45 GHz, which has been reserved by interna-
tional agreement for industrial, scientific and medical applications. A number of other
devices use this radio frequency, including cordless (not mobile) phones, microwave ovens,
baby monitors, and garage-door openers. Bluetooth devices avoid interfering with each
other as well as with devices working in the same frequency band by using very weak
signals (which limit their operational range to around ten metres) in conjunction with a
technique called spread-spectrum frequency hopping.This technique involves constant random
change (1,600 times per second) of the working frequency, which minimises the probability
of the same frequency being accessed by two competing devices simultaneously.When
Bluetooth devices are within range, they start to communicate automatically, and then
determine whether there are data to be exchanged or whether one device needs to control
the other.Thus Bluetooth devices establish personal area networks (PANs) called piconets.
Taking into account the range limitation of ten metres, devices using Bluetooth tech-
nology can be applied for indoor exhibitions.They can be used to trace the patterns of
observation of certain exhibits, and a user's own Bluetooth-compatible devices will be
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