Background

Cultural heritage has traditionally been a privileged area for personalization research. Visitors come to cultural heritage sites willing to experience and learn new things, usually without a clear idea of what to expect. Cultural heritage sites are typically rich with objects and information, much more than the visitor can absorb during a limited time of a visit.

The challenge is: can we provide an engaging experience for the ‘digital’, ‘mobile’ and ‘traditional’ museum visitors before, during and after a visit by exploiting information from previous interactions on cultural heritage sites and elsewhere on the ubiquitous Web. Further, an interesting problem to explore is can this kind of support be a basis for maintaining a lifelong chain of personalized cultural heritage experiences.

Personalization could improve the interaction and experience of visitors both on museum websites and with museum guide systems by supporting visitors’ navigation and assisting them in quickly finding an appropriate starting point, and in discovering new relevant information. In this process, the museum systems consider visitors’ personal characteristics, such as age, education, previous knowledge and experience (when available), together with the visitors’ behavior, in order to improve access to the collection and learning experiences, e.g. automatically adapting content presentation using user preferences and interest profiles collecting explicit user data from questionnaires or implicit date from monitoring visitors’ activities.

While currently various museum initiatives already invite people to engage with their collections online (e.g., Tate Modern, Powerhouse Museum), or reach out via Social Web platforms, e.g., Flickr the Commons, Brooklyn Museum on Facebook, augmented reality browser of Netherlands Architecture Institute with Layar, personalization strategies for cultural heritage reside mainly in research projects and experiments, e.g., PEACH, INTRIGUE, Kubadji, PIL, CHIP,  and PrestoPrime, and focus mainly on ad-hoc, within-session or -visit personalization.

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