Despite a rich European cultural heritage and the deployment of novel exhibition approaches and tools in museums and cultural institutions, the public engagement in cultural heritage remains low. According to recent statistics, 55% of the European population did not visit any cultural site in 2010. The EU Commission wishes to engage more people and culture promotion is at the hearts of the European policies:
“Culture and creativity are important drivers for personal development, social cohesion and economic growth. Today's strategy promoting intercultural understanding confirms culture's place at the heart of our policies”.
TAG CLOUD is a EU/FP7 ICT project that develops digital services to attract a wider audience in cultural heritage. Personalization is the central element in the approach. Based on their interests and their use of the services, the users will receive tailored cultural information and will be recommended different types of applications to interact with cultural resources.
Personalization occurs in the background. TAG CLOUD also develops mobile applications that combine:
- Social computing. The goal is to raise awareness through network effects. In addition, social media is a means to gather information about the user's interests, and is thus relevant for personalization. The information from social media can also be analysed by professionals in order to understand user behaviour and create offerings.
- Virtual environments. The goal is to engage users through augmented reality and games. The "fun factor" is important, especially for the young generation.
- Digital Storytelling. Good stories create interest. TAG CLOUD will both support the dissemination of stories and engage people to tell and share.
Pilot trials will be held in Norway, UK and Spain. The theme "culture in the landscape" is chosen for the pilot trial in Norway.
The project has spesified a set of scenarios that were evaluated through focus groups. In Norway, the scenario addresses cultural dissemination outdoors and learning. The scenarios were evaluated by students in two secondary schools: Thora Storm in Trondheim and Rissa VGS. In addition, two focus groups were organized with experts in culture, tourism, media and IT.
A set of initial applications were also developed. For the pilot study in Norway, we have developed the mobile App "stedr" that combines digital storytelling and social media. The applications will be evaluated in the autumn 2014.
The plan is then to revise the applications based on the feedback of this evaluation and to integrate the personalization features. A second evaluation through pilot trials is scheduled for summer 2015.