Book: Heritage in a Digital Age

Interpretation In A Digital Age: Understanding how to use the range of technologies available to the heritage interpretation industry

Media hype, supplier claims, ambiguous jargon, and a rapid pace of change and redundancy, combined with a limited understanding, can mislead the most seasoned professional to make a poor decision. Yet you don’t need to understand the technology in a technical sense in order to manage it well. This book looks at all the available and emerging mobile digital technologies that are relevant to providing today’s heritage visitor experience. It dissects them one-by-one from a management viewpoint, looking at factors such as cost, risk, and future trends. It is written in simple language by two experienced technologists, who created the 'Info-Point' visitor information system. Its aim is to give you the knowledge and understanding make decisions with confidence.

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What reviewers have said...

...this wonderful and important book - very timely as the interpretive profession media opportunities continues to evolve. It is easy to read and follow, well written and thought out. I can thoroughly recommend this book for any interpreter's library.

John Veverka, InterpNews Nov/Dec 2017, USA  (Page 16)

A concise, easy to read introduction and guide for Heritage professionals starting digital projects in their places. It promises "objective and practical guidance", and lives up to that promise.

It's an easy read, and neatly sums up the history of handheld guides in heritage sites as it walks the reader through concepts like: Bring Your Own Device; native, web and hybrid apps; media creation; webcams; and locational and proximity triggering. Palmer and Rathbone conclude a useful chapter on accessibility and inclusiveness with with a section on Mindfulness.

There are chapters on using technology outdoors, understanding wifi, compliance and intellectual property, and project management. An optimistic chapter near the end explores some of the possibilities that "the digital toolbox" might enable, and the book ends with a jargon busting glossary that reveals the intended audience museum and cultural heritage professionals who not digital experts but are thinking of commissioning something and don't want to be fast-talked by potential suppliers.

It's not an academic work, it doesn't have references to other texts. Rather it is based on the practical experience to the two authors.

Matthew Tyler-Jones, Researcher and consultant specialising in Visitor Experience with the National Trust

The book will fulfil the need for the authors targeted market exactly as stated on the back cover. The clear well laid out text, succinct yet always with adequate detail for the non technical. The 'key knowledge' at the end of each chapter is very helpful. The Project Management chapter is a fund of straight forward common sense, clearly based on the scars of experience. This chapter alone makes the cost of the book good value. 

Terry Lilley, Research Volunteer, HQS Wellington, London.

I've got a copy of the book here on my desk that has already been well used!

Gavin Glencorse - Interpretation Officer, Historic Environment Scotland

....a comprehensive overview of issues to consider when using digital and interactive technologies in museum displays. It is suitable for non-specialists, while giving an overview of all the current options - from apps (and whether you really need them) to Bring Your Own Device, using QR codes, traditional handheld tour devices, webcams and proximity triggering. It also reviews cultural and access considerations - ranging from how disabled people will use a technology, to the likelihood that some innovations that will be obvious to young 'digital natives' will not feel like home ground to older audiences.

The book imagines applications in outdoor and unattended places - will cold, cows or vandals mangle your tech? as well as looking at the 'mindful' aspects of technology, and how to ensure that new innovation doesn't distract from museum collections or the present.

I really liked the way it's so accessible, so absolutely everyone can see what the issues are and grasp the conclusions - and thought the 'mindfulness' aspect of it was really good to raise as well: when you are and aren't adding to the atmosphere by including tech.

Kate Smith, National Museum Directors' Council Newsletter, October 2017