Academic journal article Informatica Economica

New Researches on the Role of Virtual Exhibitions in Digitization, Preservation and Valorization of Cultural Heritage

Academic journal article Informatica Economica

New Researches on the Role of Virtual Exhibitions in Digitization, Preservation and Valorization of Cultural Heritage

Article excerpt

1 Introduction

Nowadays, we are experiencing a technological revolution and every human activity is influenced by the new ICT. The modern information and communication technologies that we are using today, such as mobile technologies, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and so on, have impacted our lives and our fields of activity. The cultural sector needs to adapt to this (r)evolution, because people are not coming anymore in a library to read a book in physical format if they have the possibility to read it online. This happens also in the case of museums and art galleries, where visitors don't come anymore to see a painting, a sculpture or other cultural object, and they are satisfied with an online image of that cultural object that they find on Google or other place on the web.

The current society presents a different behavior than the society of ten or twenty years ago. This should be taken into account when deciding the application of a strategy to increase the number of visitors or the revenues of cultural institutions.

According to the Cultural Barometer in 2015, 38% of people analyzed have not read any books in the last year and only 16% said they participate often at cultural events, theater, museums and art exhibitions, cinema, opera, philharmonic and entertainment performances. From the young people aged between 14 and 30 years, 48% said that they go to museums and exhibitions, and only 35% goes to the library.

A modern form of presentation of cultural objects through which is enhanced their security and which creates the premises for an easier access at any time and from any point from the globe is that of online virtual exhibitions (OLVE). An OLVE is not just "another way" to present cultural objects using a new technology. Through its dynamic character (it can be updated at any time) and the variety of content and forms of presentation, an OLVE is more than a digitized collection or an eBook.

As defined in [11], a "virtual exhibition translates the essence of the physical objects presented into the digital world and makes this essence available to users anywhere, anytime effectively and efficiently."

The objective of virtual exhibitions is to attract the visitors to come back in a cultural institution to see with their eyes the real cultural object and to not be satisfied only with a simple picture of that object. The development and implementation of virtual exhibitions have the first objective to promote and valorize the cultural heritage from cultural institutions and after that to achieve the other particular objectives.

A virtual exhibition allow the visitors to try alternative routes for navigation through the content and also, it offers a way to achieve possibilities that visitors were not able to do in a real exhibition [9].

When we discuss about the implementation of virtual exhibitions, we must take into consideration the previous scientific literature and all the recommendations from people that have worked in the cultural sector and have created and curated physical exhibitions [1], [2], [3]. A virtual exhibition is not only an image gallery where the user can scroll to see the pictures inside the gallery. The virtual exhibition needs to interact with the users, to collect their experiences, to give them what they need, in order to determine them to visit the physical exhibition or a number of the cultural objects that they found inside the virtual exhibition.

In Figure 1 below is presented the expected evolution of number of visitors in a cultural institution, correlated with the number of virtual exhibitions implemented with cultural objects of that institution.

As it can be seen from Figure 1, the number of visitors will grow if the number of virtual exhibitions will increase. This hypothesis needs to be validated, starting with few cultural institutions that agree to implement and make available to the public some virtual exhibitions and to collect data about their number of visitors. …

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