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It doesn't compare to being there: in-situ vs. remote exploration of museum collections

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


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The digitization of museum collections has the potential not only to make them accessible remotely but also to augment their in-situ exploration at the gallery. We are interested in how mobile visual interfaces to museum collections can enhance explorations and experiences of the collection insitu, and how these in-situ explorations compare to remote browsing of collections, e.g., through web-based interfaces. We discuss findings from a study where potential visitors explored a museum collection using a tablet-based visualization remotely, at first, and then as part of their museum visit. Our findings show that the entry points to the collection differ in the two different contexts: while overview visualizations linked with individual artifacts triggered curiosity and promoted exploration in the remote setting, it was the individual (physical) artifacts that drove explorations of the mobile visualization in-situ. While remote explorations of the visualization can be characterized as highly open-ended, in-situ, people approached the interface in a more targeted way. These findings suggest an item-centric approach to the design of mobile visualizations that bridges the physical and digital information space to assist in-situ explorations of museums collections.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe Search Is Over! Exploring Cultural Collections with Visualization - City University London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Sep 201412 Sep 2014


WorkshopThe Search Is Over! Exploring Cultural Collections with Visualization
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Information visualization, Entry points, Museum collection, Mobile devices

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