Museums opening up to communities using web 2.0: promise or reality?

Shahani, L., Nikonanou, N. and Economou, M. (2008) Museums opening up to communities using web 2.0: promise or reality? International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, 1(4), pp. 57-66.

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As social edifices in the sphere of cultural production, today’s museums are increasingly becoming advocates of inclusion and incubators of community. As a result, there has been an increased interest and subsequent change in the way museums mediate among and between communities. One of these changes is the way museums and cultural institutions use emerging Web 2.0 technologies as a means of communication. By extending past the sole use of content provider offered with traditional Web 1.0 technologies, several museums are embracing and experimenting with Web 2.0 technology for its ability to emphasize community and visitor participation. Through the application of museum centered Internet-based services such as social networking sites, RSS feeds, podcasts, and blogs, users can actively engage and influence the organization, creation, and sharing of online content. Undoubtedly, these online platforms infused with concepts of collaboration, community and open dialogue offer the potential to transform our capacity to experience and interact with the museum as well as each other. But to what extent has this potential been realized so far? By seeking to contextualize these social dynamics involved in applying Web 2.0 technologies into the museum, this paper aims to expand our understanding and uses of the various possibilities of social media. Through using a number of case studies from museums with existing Web 2.0 applications, it will discuss how the model of museum communication is changing and will also analyze a number of important issues raised by the use of these technological tools (such as ownership authenticity and control of cultural information, relationship between communities and museum staff, and institutional policies).

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Economou, Professor Maria
Authors: Shahani, L., Nikonanou, N., and Economou, M.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Information Studies
Journal Name:International Journal of the Inclusive Museum
Publisher:Common Ground Publishing

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