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Handbook on cultural web user interaction
First edition (September 2008)
edited by MINERVA EC Working Group "Quality, Accessibility and Usability"

2.5.      Interactive and user side services

This section aims to present ICT applications that can be adapted for the end user, providing interfaces and selections of contents and of personalized services. The single services are organised into some macro-categories, to help readers to make their choice. URLs have been checked in August 2008.

2.5.1 Interactive communication services mediated by the  information provider      Electronic mailing list

An electronic mailing list (sometimes written as elist or e-list) is a special usage of e-mail that allows for widespread distribution of information to many Internet users. It is similar to a traditional mailing list — a list of names and addresses — as might be kept by an organization for sending publications to its members or customers, but typically refers to four things: a list of e-mail addresses, the people (“subscribers”) receiving mail at those addresses, the publications (e-mail messages) sent to those addresses, and a reflector, which is a single e-mail address that, when designated as the recipient of a message, will send a copy of that message to all of the subscribers.

Science Museum, UK
Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Spain
IRCAM Centre Pompidou, France
AIB-CUR, Italy      Newsletter

A newsletter is a news bulletin in written or image form periodically sent out by electronic mail, often in HTML format. It is usually requested by those who receive it.Some portals and providers make an invasive use of them for advertising.

Tate, UK
Centro cultural de Belém Lisboa, Portugal
Museo del Prado, Spain
Musée des Instruments de Musique (MIM), France
Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Austria
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), Spain
IRCAM Centre Pompidou, France
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherland
opt_in1&MIDRID=S7Y1BwAA04&lang=en&Z=920694542      Forum

See also 2.2.3.

Egyptology community
IRCAM Centre Pompidou, France h      Blog, photoblog, videoblog, geoblog

See also 1.2.1

Centre Pompidou, France
Liverpool Museums Walker art Gallery, UK,category,learning.aspx
Victoria and Albert Museum
Museo Diffuso di Torino – Geoblog      Virtual reference services

Online reference service, generally known as “Ask the librarian”, offered via e-mail or chat by the library. Sometimes is optimized for handheld devices.

Library of Congress, USA (Ask a librarian)
Florida’s Virtual Reference Service, USA (Ask a librarian)
Regione Toscana, Italy (Chiedi in biblioteca)
Bibliothèque Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (Discutez en ligne avec les bibliothécaires)
City Museum Helsinki, Finland (Ask the museum)

British Museum, UK (Ask the expert)      Mobile devices: SMS/MMS/Bluetooth

Short Message Service (SMS) is a communications protocol allowing the interchange of short text messages between mobile telephone devices. Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a standard for telephone messaging systems that allows sending messages that include multimedia objects (images, audio, video, rich text) and not just text as in Short Message Service (SMS). Institutions are beginning to send information using these technologies.

Servizio bibliotecario vimercatese, Italy (SMS Service)
Swinburne Library, Australia (SMS Service)
Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (Mobile devices)
_de_prensa/alertas_al_movil.php?idioma=en Instant messaging

“Instant Messaging (IM) is a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text. The text is conveyed via computers connected over a network such as the Internet. It is important to understand that what separates chat and instant messaging from technologies such as e-mail is the perceived synchronicity of the communication by the user - Chat happens in real-time before your eyes. For this reason, some people consider communication via instant messaging to be less intrusive than communication via phone. However, some systems allow the sending of messages to people not currently logged on (offline messages), thus removing much of the difference between Instant Messaging and e-mail.

Some IM systems allow users to use webcams and microphones which make them more popular than others. Due to this feature users can have a real-time conversation. In addition IM has additional features such as: the immediate receipt of acknowledgement or reply, group chatting, conference services (including voice and video), conversation logging and file transfer.

Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) is a presence enabled messaging service that aims to transpose the desktop messaging experience to the usage scenario of being on the move” (Wikipedia).

Several libraries are already using this kind of technology for interaction with users.

University Libraries of Nevada, Las Vegas, Instant messaging reference service      Videoconferencing

“A videoconference (also known as a videoteleconference) is a set of interactive telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously. It has also been called visual collaboration and is a type of groupware. It differs from videophone in that it is designed to serve a conference rather than individuals. The core technology used in a videoteleconference (VTC) system is digital compression of audio and video streams in real time” (from Wikipedia).

Natural History Museum, London, UK (Educational Videoconferences)
activities/ video-conference/Videoconferencing.html

Smithsonian – National ad Air Space Museum, Washington, USA
(Educational Videoconferences)
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (Videoconferencing)
Project Videonet. Guidelines for Community Use of Public Library Videoconferencing Services, July 2003      Streaming

“The term streaming identifies a flow of audio/video data transmitted by a source to one or more destinations through a telematic network. This data is reproduced as it arrives at its destination. There are basically two kinds of streaming:
                        •     Streaming live. Similar to traditional broadcasting transmission by radio or video. In this case too the data is transmitted using opportune compression to lighten the load on the network as much as possible. The compression of the contents introduces a delay of about ten seconds in the flow. This delay is not usually a problem in the area of streaming live.
                        •     Streaming on demand: the audio/video contents are initially compressed and memorized on a server as files. A user can request the server to send him the audio/video contents. It isn’t necessary to download them all on the PC to be able to reproduce them: the data received is decompressed and reproduced a few seconds after the beginning of reception. This delay allows the creation of a sort of lung for compensating delays or micro-interruptions of the network. The streaming flows of Real Video and Real Audio, Windows Media Player, QuickTime Flash Video (Youtube) are of this type.” (Wikipedia).

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) (Conferences: audio)
Liceu Barcelona, Spain (Watch and listen)
Centre Pompidou-Metz: le chantier hier, France
The Natural History Museum, London, UK
Università di Torino, Italy (telewebradio)


Streaming Museum

It is a real-time exhibition in cyberspace and public space on seven continents, launched on January 29, 2008. The project presents an ongoing program of multi-media exhibitions in collaboration with international curators and cultural institutions. Streaming Museum is conceived as a source of free cultural content and public service messaging on the environment, education and health, accessed via the Internet and in high visibility public locations.      WebCam

Webcams (web cameras) are small cameras whose images can be accessed using the World Wide Web.

Centre Pompidou, France

2.5.2      Interactive learning services      Online tutorials, Online help

Online courses and tutorials, available through websites of public cultural institutions.

Plot, Park Library Online Tutorial - Resources for Librarians and Educators 
Uk, The National Archives – In-depth learning guides
Guides covering some of our most popular research topics: Family history, Latin, Local history, Paleography 
Library of the Southern Cross University, Australia
Tutorial for students on copyright

2.5.3      Virtual interactive tours

Interactive tours on collection highlights, exhibitions, popular themes, etc.

The London Canal Museum, London
Madrid Virtual. Com, Spain
Leopold Museum Vienna
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
Liceu Barcelona, Spain
Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain
Centre Pompidou, France

MuseumsInsel Berlin, Germany

2.5.4      Commercial interactive services      E-commerce

Electronic commerce or e-commerce consists in buying and selling, marketing and providing products or services through network linked computers. In the telecommunications industry it can also mean the group of applications dedicated to commercial transactions.

British Museum, UK (Shop Online)
The Library of Congress, USA (Shop, Best selling images) e=1&PHPSESSID=d656fdd3614b1d9388a816b8244d0a6c
Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Austria (Shop)
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Austria (Shop)
Secession Wien, Austria (Shop)
Van Gogh Museum. The Netherlands (shop)
Rijksmuseum Museum Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Shop)
Victoria and Albert Museum (Shop)
Toronto Public Library, Canada (Photographic and Digital Reproduction Services)      Online ticketing

On line booking service for museums, exhibitions and events.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
Oceanario Lisboa
Centro Cultural de Belém
Belvedere Wien
Schoenbrunn Wien
Cosmo Caixa Barcelona
Centre Pompidou, Paris ReadForm&count=999&sessionM=2.1.1&L=1
Rijksmuseum Museum Amsterdam

2.5.5      Interactive forms

Many institutions use interactive forms for subscriptions, reservations, desiderata, suggestions, comments etc.

New York State Library,
USA (Library Online Request Forms)
Juedisches Museum Berlin, Germany 03-Collections/reading-room/reading-room-application-form.php

2.5.6       User-side services Podcasting

See 1.2.3.

MoMAudio, USA
British Library, UK
Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain
Cité des Sciences Paris, France
Espace Dalì Paris, France
Van Gogh Museum, The Netherlands
Rijksmuseum Museum Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain      RSS Feed

See 4.4.

Victoria & Albert Museum, UK
Library of Congress
National Archives of Australia      Social bookmarking

See 1.2.4.

National Army Museum Chelsea, UK (social bookmarking buttons) pages/socialBookmarking.shtml
Victoria and Albert Museum London, UK (social bookmarking buttons)
Getty Bookmarks
Getty Bookmarks lets you collect and save your favorite artists and works of art from the Getty collection on your own bookmarks page.      Folksonomies, social tagging

See 1.2.4
Service proposed by the town of Torino, Italy
“Steve Museum” project      File-sharing (texts, images, video)

The sharing of files within a common network can take place through a network with a client-server or peer-to-peer structure.

Global Museum Podcast Index
SlideShare      Mashup

This term is used to describe the creation of Web services by freely using the information of other sites or services, extracted using public interfaces. This procedure is possible thanks to the use of application programming interfaces (APIs), which allow a program on one computer to invoke services from another. Google maps has a very widely used API, for example. 

Book Finder 4 you
Book Jetty      Story-telling

Story telling is the ancient art of conveying events in words, images, and sounds often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories have been shared in every culture and in every land as a means of entertainment, education, preservation of culture and moral instruction. Crucial elements of storytelling include plot and characters, as well as the narrative point of view.

The evolution of technology has changed the tools available to storytellers. Traditionally, oral stories were passed from generation to generation, and survived solely by memory. With written media, this has become less important. Conversely, in modern times, the vast entertainment industry is built upon a foundation of sophisticated multimedia storytelling (from Wikipedia)

Every object tells a story
Story teller museum, Poland
Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (Tell about the visit)      Interactive games

A video game is a game with rules that are automatically controlled by an electronic man-machine interface. Like any game, a video game symbolically reproduces particular cultural contexts, taking them from their default environment and applying them to contexts and situations that can go from the most faithful simulation to parody. Cultural institutions often use them for educational or entertainment purposes.

Public Records Office – Just for kids, UK (see
Ajuntament Barcelona, Spain
Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain
Musée Marmottan Monet, France
Rembrandt Museum, The Netherlands
Liverpool Museums Walker art Gallery, UK
Museums of Liverpool, UK      Masterpiece on your desktop

This is a widget which allows you to view a different work from the collection every day. And the ‘reverse side’ of every work provides more information about the work and the painter.

Rijksmuseum Museum Amsterdam,
The Netherlands      Add a comment

This facility offers the possibility for a user to add a comment to a text or on an image.

Tate Britain, UK (Write your own label)
Schoenbrunn, Austria (Guestbook)      Send to a friend

This facility offers the possibility for a user to send the content of a webpage to another person, thus sharing his enjoyment of the content.

Kindermuseum Wien, Austria
Juedisches Museum, Berlin, The Netherlands      Votes and polls

These facilities offer the possibility for the user to vote for his favourite content items.

Moma, RedStudio, USA      Travelogue service

This facility offers the possibility to organise a journey by selecting and saving information in a convenient location. Simply click on “add to travelogue” button to save information for one’s trip; design one’s own tailor-made route and create a map of one’s trip; make personalised tourist leaflets; create one’s trip planner, add notes to each stage of the trip.

Spain.Info      Personalised agenda and calendar

Personalised diary for saving information. For those who are bewildered by the amount of daily activity at the Institution, the system offers the opportunity to set up a personal profile indicating specific interests and selecting from the range of event types and the subjects.

Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain idioma=&err=1
Cité de la musique Paris, France
New York’s Metropolitan Museum, USA      Personalised map

This facility takes the form of a map on which it is possible to save personal information. This adds an extra, geographical, dimension.      Personalised visitor plans

This function supports a personalised plan for the visit, taking into consideration how and when, with whom and for how long the visitor is planning to come, as well as in what is he interested. Part of the content concerning an exhibition can be retrieved by the visitor after the visit.

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, France (Mes service Visite+) onglet=profil&langue=fr
Tate Britain, UK      Personalised web gallery / The virtual curator

This facility offers the possibility to select images from the digitised collection in order to create a personalised Web gallery, adding personal comments and descriptions. The user can create a “My Personal Museum” space in which to collect, interpret and exhibit regarding a theme, an artist, or a favourite object. This type of facility can be very interesting for school projects.

Virtual Museum of Canada
Louvre, France (see
Musée Orsay, France
Tate Britain. UK      Virtual postcards

This facility offers visitors to the site the possibility to make and send self-made virtual postcards.

Virtual Museum of Canada

Gubelkian Lisboa, Portugal
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
Musèe Orsay, France
Irish museum of modern art, Ireland      Learning environments

Learning environments are online facilities where the users can explore and discover collections through narrative topics, images and other content-rich resources such as library and object records.

UK National Museum of Science and Industry Museum Group – Ingenious Project
Explore Art Getty, USA
Louvre, France

2.5.7      MUVEs (see also 1.2.6)

Online, multi-user virtual environments, sometimes called virtual worlds”. The most common platform is Second Life (see Whyville is a virtual world where boys and girls from all over the real world come to chat, play, learn, and have fun together.

Second Life

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