About four years ago I was asked to work as cultural and educational consultant for a Culture Online funded pilot project called MyArtSpace. We worked with three venues - Urbis in Manchester, The Study Gallery, now KUBE, in Poole and the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth. MyArtSpace was one of the early systems for interpreting and sharing collections and exhibitions digitally using mobile phones. Organisations listed exhibits or artefacts on a database, along with images and interesting facts. These were then transferred to a system which visitors could access via specially programmed mobile phones.
As visitors encountered an object showing a code around the venue or site, they entered the code into the phone, which brought up a corresponding image and information. Visitors could then take a photo, record sounds, and add additonal notes, thoughts, facts etc to this object's 'record.' This was then saved to a personalised storeroom belonging just to that one visitor, which they accessed on the internet later on. Through their collection in this on line storeroom they could then select, order, and present items to create unique exhibitions; then share them with other users through the MyArtSpace website.
After the pilot phase, MyArtSpace became OOKL as we realised the potential for the service expanded way beyond just art, and we didn't want to restrict usage. Museums, botanic gardens and a wide range of other spaces and places began to come on board.
Now, with leaps and bounds of advances in digital technology and a web revolution, the power of OOKL has stepped up to gears previously incomprehensible. January saw an i-phone app launched which has opened up access to the service and its thousands of objects. More than three venues per week are now signing up to use OOKL.
If you want to find out more about using OOKL as a venue or a visitor, read on...
OOKL has changed...and now more than 3 venues are joining every week
OOKL started life as a mobile learning service. While we got praise for the service, many venues coudn't justify the effort or cost just to improve the formal learning offer. So, we listened, made fundamental changes and the reaction has been fantastic. Here's what changed:
Venues can join OOKL for free
In the past you had to buy/lease our handsets in order to use the content management system. Now you can join OOKL and use the content management system for free.
Any visitor can access your content
Visitors to the OOKL website can browse through your collection free of charge or without necessarily visiting your venue. All objects on OOKL link back to your main website which increases access to your venue and the collection.
OOKL is now a 'source of revenue'
The most powerful change has been that you can now earn revenues from your digital content. How is that possible? We're launching an iPhone application which means that visitors will pay to access your collection on their phones and you earn 60% of the net revenues. And we'll be rolling it out to more phones later the year. There are no upfront costs or risks on your side. To see screenshots of the iPhone experience click here.
New wiki-like tools that reduce the effort to digitise your collection
OK, we couldn't magically increase your staff, so what we did do was make OOKL really easy to use, and introduce tools so that your volunteers, friends, enthusiasts could help you create content. All they need to do is take photo, upload, fill in a few fields and push it to you for approval.
So what's in it for OOKL?
It's simple, we provide the platform to you in exchange for a share of the revenues generated. We also offer proprietary mobile phones to help young people engage with your collection that we sell or lease to venues (but these are now optional) - packages run from £1,000-10,000. Ask us for a free trial handset.
More than 3 venues a week are joining OOKL. Add your venue today. It's FREE.
Call 0207 278 4044
Email us at info[at]ooklnet.com
Find out more about OOKL
I'm most interested in how the public, your public, whoever that may be, engages with culture and creativity.
If there's a design angle (be it contemporary design, textiles, built environment, engineering, social history, visitor flow, use of space and architecture etc) then I'm even more interested.
And if it nurtures creativity and develops personal, social or professional skills I'm absolutely all ears.
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