Overview of MW98: Why you should attend MW98 Learn new skills to enhance your museum site Explore issues and controversies facing Museums and the Web Experts featured at MW98 Commercial products and services to enhance your web site Organizations supporting MW98: Online interchange regarding the virtual museum experience Juried awards to best web sites in 5 categories Overview of MW98: Why you should attend MW98 Learn new skills to enhance your museum site Explore issues and controversies facing Museums and the Web Experts featured at MW98 Commercial products and services to enhance your web site Organizations supporting MW98: Online interchange regarding the virtual museum experience Juried awards to best web sites in 5 categories

Overview of MW98: Why you should attend MW98 Learn new skills to enhance your museum site Explore issues and controversies facing Museums and the Web Experts featured at MW98 Commercial products and services to enhance your web site Organizations supporting MW98: Online interchange regarding the virtual museum experience Juried awards to best web sites in 5 categories

Archives & Museum Informatics

info @ archimuse.com

www.archimuse.comArchives and Museum Informatics Home Page

published April 1998
updated Nov. 2010


With All This I.T., Are We Doing Our Job Better?

Richard Gerrard, Heritage Toronto, Canada

"Too often, the computer is used in the schools, as it is used in other social establishments, as a quick technological fix. It is used to paper over fundamental problems to create the illusion that they are being attacked.
 If Johnny can't read and somebody writes a computer software that will improve Johnny's reading score a little bit for the present, then the easiest thing to do is to bring in the computer and sit Johnny down at it. This makes it unnecessary to ask why Johnny can't read. In other words, it makes it unnecessary to reform the school system, or for that matter the society that tolerates the breakdown of its schools." [1]

I have been using computers for over 20 years; developing collections management systems for the last 10 years; been on the 'Net for 8 years. I believe that digital multimedia and web technologies have an enormous potential for delivering educational content. I am not as optimistic that the potential of these technologies will ever be realized. I have reluctantly come to this conclusion for two reasons. First, the historic patterns adoption and use of earlier information technologies in classroom for over the last century. Second, is the "productivity paradox" of I.T. in the service sector. These are large complex phenomenon, and I can not hope to cover them in either detail or depth in a short paper. However, I would like to bring forward certain aspects of this problem and point to avenues for further research. 

 The first section of this paper deals with the application of Information Technology (I.T.) to the central mission of museums, "to collect, to preserve and to educate". In particular I wish to address the educational aspects of this mission. Under this heading I will be as inclusive as possible bringing all activities undertaken by museums undertaken with the intent to impart information about the museum, its collections and its programs to the public. My definition of the public is meant to include all classes of students, from kindergarten to adult learners, as well as professional requests from for information from scholars and other colleagues. 

 The second part of the paper discusses a few of the many studies have shown that the introduction of I.T. has not significantly increased per capita productivity of companies. Since the Web is often sold as a medium for efficiently delivering educational programming to a wide audience I think this evidence is worth considering. One of the fears I have is that in our rush to adopt computer-based communication technologies and restructure our institutions to make use them, do we run the risk of losing more than we might gain? What might be the long-term side effects for museums of "being digital" and can we see parallels in the digital conversion of other sectors of the economy? [2

 Obviously I am not the first observer to pose such questions. I certainly will not be the last. Motion pictures, radio, television, and computers each promised to revolutionise education, none of these technologies did. If you look at the spectrum of content produced for each of these media today there are isolated islands of excellence among vast seas of mediocrity (For those of you who are frequent users of the Web you might have noticed a similar trend?). The relatively recent introduction into museums of the Internet and its offspring, the Web and Intranets, have similar revolutionary claims made for them. Before we fill our digital galleries and digital storerooms with digital objects perhaps we should pull back for a moment, and see if there are lessons to be learned from the earlier information technologies. 

 By the end of the paper I hope we can begin to look at some of the following questions. In a different economic environment, would we have chosen the web as a primary communication vehicle? Museums have undergone a period of tremendous re-structuring and re-focusing over the last five years. In this period of turmoil we have, perhaps paradoxically, seen a huge growth in the use of computer-based information technologies in museums (at all levels of education for that matter). Has this money been well spent, or are we papering over the cracks? In our enthusiasm for this technology, and its apparent short-term successes, are we really endangering our long-term goals? The bottom line question I would like to try to address is simple, with all this I.T. are we doing our job better or not? 

 The Mission of Museums 

 Perhaps the most significant problems in trying to deploy I.T. towards meeting the mission of the institution is trying to define what our job is supposed to be. For the purposes of this paper, I will use the ICOM's definition of a museum. [3

 A solid understanding of our corporate mission is a fundamental pre-requisite is we are to successfully design, develop and implement I.T. based initiatives to further these aims. All too often, however, projects are doomed to failure before they begin because of a lack of understanding of the museum's mission. Fortunately a detailed discussion of this wide-ranging museological debate is clearly beyond the scope of this paper. But as a starting point for debate I would propose that the mission of museums (based on the ICOM definition) would have something to do with presenting objects to people in an educational and entertaining fashion [4]. 

 Someone once said, that anyone who thinks education and entertainment are two opposite poles knows nothing about either education or entertainment. While I would tend to agree, in general terms, with this sentiment, I do not intend to explore the purely entertainment possibilities for museums on the Web. I've found that museums are not very good game developers, and on a more personal level I am still trying to decide whether the term "educational game" is an oxymoron or whether at a fundamental level all games are educational. While I do appreciate the perceived need for museums to sell themselves I will not discuss museum-marketing ventures using the Web. 

 I.T. and Education 

 The first part of this essay consists of a historical examination of the deployment and use of I.T. in classroom settings. I am taking this approach for two reasons. First, I think we can all agree on the fact that museums are classrooms, and that most educational applications of the Web we have implemented have classrooms as at least one of the target audiences. More specifically, the justification heard most often for web development in museums is providing access to the vast stores of knowledge museum's hold for broad educational purposes. Second, this gives us a relatively well documented record for several different I.T.s over a considerable time depth. Spinoza observed that, "if you want the present to be different from the past, study the past". In this spirit I suggest if we wish to make best use of "information technology" we need to examine the use of earlier information technologies in an educational setting. This should allow us to perceive any historical patterns of deployment and use that might be present. Therefore let us begin by to considering the Web's I.T. ancestors: motion pictures, radio, television, and the networked computer. 

 Motion Pictures 

 Here is a 1913 statement by the technology expert of his day, Mr. Thomas Alva Edison, tell me if the claim sound familiar: 

"Books will soon be obsolete in the schools." [5]

 This was Mr. Edison's claim that the new I.T. marvel, the motion picture, would bring about a new era in public education. The death of the book and its replacement by this new I.T. promised to give students a direct experience of the world, unmediated by the limitations of the printed page that had held their minds hostage since Guttenberg. 

 Nine years later, in 1922, Mr. Edison remarks again on the impending changes. He says, 

"I believe that the motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and that in a few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks." [6]

 By the 1920s the motion picture industry had begun to bring about fundamental change in the entertainment industry [7], but the revolution in education promised from the promoters of motion pictures would never come. 

 U.S. National Education Association surveys done in 1946 and 1951 of motion picture use in urban school districts clearly support this observation. The number of teachers who "never" or only "occasionally" used the technology remained remarkably consistent between these two surveys. In 1946 68% of elementary, 63% of junior high school and 85% of senior high school fell into these user groups. A survey conducted in 1954 found 58% of elementary and 77% of secondary teachers either never or occasionally used them. (For comparative purposes if you average the 1946 secondary score you get 74%.) [8
 Larry Cuban in his 1986 book, Teachers and Machines: The Classroom use of technology since 1920, cites four reasons for the low effectiveness of film in the classroom: 

    • Teacher lack of skill in using the equipment and films;
    • Costs of the films, equipment and maintenance;
    • Inaccessibility of the equipment when it is needed;
    • Finding and fitting the right film to the class. [9]
 In other words, the four primary factors limiting adoption or use are as follows: 1) technical skills needed to employing the technology; 2) the cost of the technology; 3) accessibility to the technology as needed; and, 4) appropriate educational/curriculum content [10]. These are recurring themes with each of the "revolutionary" educational I.T.s. 


 About the time Edison was making his 1922 prediction, the US Department of Commerce was beginning to license educational and commercial radio stations. The first known classroom use is in New York City in 1923 [11]. Ten years later, Benjamin Darrow, an early enthusiast of radio in education made the statement in 1932 that, 

"[t]he central and dominant aim of education by radio is to bring the world to the classroom, to make universally available the services of the best teachers, the inspiration of the greatest leaders, ... and unfolding world events which through radio may come as a vibrant and challenging textbook of the air." [12]

 By the 1940s one study of 1900 California schools shows 66% with radio sets in the classroom [13]. However, the same survey found that regular use by 1 or more teachers per school was 8% at the elementary level and 5% at the secondary level. The same issues of end user technical skills, cost, accessibility and content limited its use as an instructional media [14]. 


 I am (just) old enough that one of my earliest memories of public school is sitting cross-legged on the floor in the hallway staring intently at a large colour television set. I, along with the rest of my grade one class (and the rest of the population of the school for that matter) were watching one of the NASA space launches of the early 1960s [15]. Or I remember being allowed to stay up past my bedtime to see Kenneth Clarke discussing the history of art in his 13 part TV series CIVILISATION [16] aired in 1970 or Jacob Bronowski's, The Ascent of Man in 1973 [17]. 

 On the surface, my personal recollections seem to support the claims of a 1961 study by the Ford Foundation for the Advancement of Education. 

"Students in today's classrooms can be eyewitnesses to history in the making... They can see and hear the outstanding scholars of our age. They can have access to the great museums of art, history and nature. A whole treasure-trove of new and stimulating experiences that were beyond the reach of yesterday's students can be brought into the classrooms for today's students." [18]

 In fact, what I do remember is a general feeling of excitement and wonder, as much related to the departure from our usual school schedule, as the blast off itself. What I have no recall of is any discussion (beyond the initial, "isn't technology neat!") relating the image on the screen to activities in my classroom. While this is hardly a scientific observation about the classroom use of TV, I don't think my experience is unique. (The only other time I can remember a TV in my class was in 1972 for the Canada-Russia hockey series.) 

While there were experiments in the 1930s and 1940s with both broadcast and closed circuit educational TV programming, it wasn't until 1953 that the Federal Communication Commission awarded broadcast licenses for the first 242 educational stations in the U.S. [19] It took another 10 years for first the Ford Foundation, then the US Office of Education to put any significant funding into educational TV [20]. After millions of dollars invested, the level of classroom use of TV was no better than that of motion pictures or radio[21]. 

 The discussions of the factors governing (non-) adoption of TV as an educational tool in the 1960s are remarkably similar to those for the earlier (and later) I.T.s: cost to implement and maintain; flexibility of the media; comprehension and control of the media by the teacher; student response; support for, instead of replacement of, current practice; fad and pressure [22]. 

 Clifford Stoll, author of Silicon Snake Oil, raises an interesting question regarding the effectiveness of "educational television". He asks, "'Sesame Street,' widely acclaimed as an outstanding program for children, has been around for twenty years. Indeed, its idea of making learning relevant at all was as widely promoted in the seventies as the Internet is today. So where's the demographic wave of creative and brilliant students now entering college?" [23] Put it another way, we have run this experiment in educational television on our children for over 20 years, has anyone stopped to consider the results? 

 An interesting bridge between traditional print materials, TV and computers (a truly multimedia experience) in "The Voyage of the Mimi" and its sequel "The Second Voyage of the Mimi"[24]. The original project was funded with a $3.65 million dollar grant and co-produced by the U.S. Department of Education, the Banks Street College of Education, the Public Broadcasting Corporation and the publishers Holt, Rinehart and Winston. In his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, New York University professor and media critic Neil Postman presents a troubling analysis of this type of "educational" experiment. Postman concludes his discussion with the following assertion, "I would suggest that "The Voyage of the Mimi" was conceived by someone's asking the question, what is television good for?, not, what is education good for?" [25

 What Postman and Stoll are criticising is the influence entertainment is having on education. This perceived need to make learning 'fun' expresses itself by the creators of educational media as infotainment or edutainment. This trend has already had a perceptible impact on museum exhibitions and programming. 

 Museums and the Web 

 In 1992 the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) releases WWW [26] and in the same year one of the first on-line exhibits, "Revelations from the Russian Archives", a selection of materials from the Russian Archives displayed at the Library of Congress [27]. The information was delivered as GIF and ASCII files from an anonymous ftp server this experiment demonstrates some of the potential for delivering heritage information over the Internet. As ground breaking as this initiative was we should remember it is employing technology nearly 20 years old at the time [28]. 

 In 1994 the US National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in the U.S. releases Mosaic[29]. The Library of Congress followed up the Russian archives exhibit in 1993 with "Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library & Renaissance Culture"[30], an exhibit based on material from the Vatican Library. In a 1993 review of the exhibit David Bearman observed the limitations of this new media. He makes the following observation after visiting the exhibit with a Mosaic browser running on a SPARC workstation running at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Library and Information Science: 

"By opening several windows, the user can read the text, view the object and correlate both with the master list of references but the texts average only a few hundred words per image and bring JPEG images across the network and then mapping them to my 8 bit screen, requires several minutes each. This precludes "browsing" or even perceiving the online format as an exhibit; the result is that the database is suitable only for research and only by someone who has already studied the published catalog and perhaps printed out the master list for local study."[31]

 In short, Bearman cites the low resolution of the images, the slow speed for downloading, the limited amount of supporting text, and I would add the high cost of the hardware and technical support, were major detracting factors from the appropriateness of the technology for its purpose. 

 These criticisms notwithstanding, I feel the most important implication comes from the final sentence. If "the database is suitable only for research" and by someone who has printed out the master list and studies the published catalogue, why create the Web site in the first place? Could not the same aims be served by reducing the cost and increasing the distribution of the paper catalogue? 

 Why the Technology Failed to Deliver the Promised Goods in the Past 

 Why has I.T. historically failed to deliver the promised goods in terms of improvement of education? From the classroom perspective I think we can see a historical pattern emerging. It begins with enthusiastic early adoption of the technology usually backed up with grandiose claims from its proponents. This revolution gets buoyed up politically with infusions of research grants. This in turn leads to over inflated expectations on the part of users, under critical examination of results by developers, and structural resistance within organizations. Finally obscurity for the vector of the "educational revolution" as we rampage towards the next technological wonder. If you think this interpretation is extreme, look what is happening to the funding for public television as governments pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the "information highway". 

 Many might say that my analysis so far is overly cynical and there have been many successes. Unfortunately this unbridled optimism may tend to obscure the actual situation. In publicizing the successful projects and ignoring the failures we skew the truth about our use of I.T. We should bear in mind that 31% of all I.T projects are cancelled before completion, and of those remaining 52% run over budget [32]. These facts alone should be enough to fire up the warning rockets. 

 Before proceeding I would like to raise three general points to consider as possible underlying causes for the historical failures. The first important point is the very fact that all the enthusiastic statements about the impact of I.T. were predictions. And the simple truth of it is we are not very good at predicting the future, particularly when we are dealing with complex phenomena [33]. My second point follow on from this. These predictions were based on a belief in technology, rather than any real evidence for either its effectiveness or its appropriateness as a learning tool. This is an important theme in examining any technology's claim to be better than what it wants to replace, and something we will return to later in this essay. The final point I wish to raise from examining these two statements is this, "What is the relationship of the speaker to the technology being touted?" Or as William Y. Arms, Vice-President for Computing Services at Carnegie Mellon University expressed it "I am an enthusiast about electronic information, and enthusiasts must be treated with caution."[34

 Politics, Education and Business: Alternative Perspectives 

 I think that what we have been observing here is a complex interplay between politicians, educators and the business community. Each brings their own concerns and agendas to the table. I think we would all agree the heritage community as a whole has not been entirely successful in impacting the concerns or agendas of these much more powerful and organized segments of society. 

 Political Myth 

 One of the possible reasons for the failures we have to date is how these technologies were brought to bear on the problem. The approach to deployment that stresses top-down management and development might be part of the problem. 

 There are two important issues that come into play when systems are imposed from above. First, you get a certain level of user resistance to the changes. This is particularly true when the users feel they have been allowed little input into the key decisions about the system. Second, the top-down design and implementation model tends to miss important factors unless efforts are made to these systemic defects with a bottom-up check to the model. This is a common approach in relational system design and data modeling. We see both these in the historic data expressed as teacher resistance to the using the technology and the complaint that there is little appropriate content to use in the classroom. 

 I think it cannot be coincidental that the enormous interest in the Web occurred following the 1992 US presidential election. Vice-President Al Gore has been the high-level champion of this technology beginning in his days in the Senate [35]. Richard Joseph's 1997 analysis of the political mythology of the "Information Superhighway" documents how US initiatives had immediate and far-reaching repercussions worldwide. He argues that concepts like this spread so quickly and uncritically is based on the tendency to use what are seen as successful implementations as models. Whether or not the model is appropriate to local circumstances. From an Australian perspective he examines defines, high technology, deregulation and the information superhighway as models taken from the US and UK, and there application to local circumstances [36]. 

 While Joseph is examining this phenomenon at the level of national governments, this issue of model adoption is clearly applicable to museums and the Web. Models of systems developed for large, well-funded museums and organizations may not be applicable to smaller, not so well funded institutions. However, these are the systems held out as examples of what is possible for us to emulate. Too often we end up developing a Web site we can not support when the grant runs out because we did not look critically enough at the underlying model we were being offered. 

 Vartan Gregorian noted that "[i]n an era of fixed resources, this means reallocating existing resources. Growth can only be by substitution, not addition." [37] In Canada we have seen a decade of cuts at all levels of government to museum operating budgets. Private sector funding has not made up for these shortfalls and we have all been downsized to a greater or lesser extent. In this environment we have seen a great deal of spending in the area of information technology in museums. 

 In Canada, the SchoolNet program of Industry Canada [38] has connected 70% of all Canadian schools to the Internet. By the end of 1998 their goal is to have all schools will be connected. Since there are 12,402 elementary and 3,468 secondary schools in Canada [39] this is a truly impressive accomplishment. Not to mention an enormous capital and operating cost. Part of the program, the SchoolNet Digital Collection, is designed to assist museums, libraries and archives to place relevant Canadian content onto the Web. Each project receives a grant of $25,000 to pay unemployed youth to digitise collections. The project has been very successful in getting material on-line. However, there are no additional funds for the museums to continue to develop their new site once the grant is gone and I have seen no follow up evaluation regarding the use or usefulness of the content. I have to wonder aloud if the museum was offered a $25,000 grant to spend anyway it choose would this be number one on its priority list? Or if we could direct the money would it be better spent on bringing up the quality of the institution's inventory or catalogue records? 

 Education Myth 

 There has been a certain mythology associated with hypermedia applications in relation to their use as learning tools. Andrew Dillon presents arguments regarding what he considers the four widely held myths regarding hypermedia: 1) Associative linking of information is natural in that it mimics the workings of the human mind; 2) 

Paper is a linear and therefore a constraining medium; 3) Rapid access to a large manipulatible mass of information will lead to better use and learning; 4) Future technologies will solve all current problems [40]. If Dillon is correct (and I believe he is) then the underlying assumptions we have about the Web as a superior learning medium are wrong. Let's briefly consider each of these in turn. 

 Dillon states the assumption that associative linking really models the human mind is largely unsupported by cognitive studies. The work of Roger Penrose, Daniel Dennett and others seem to support this conclusion [41]. 

 Novels, motion pictures, and lesson plans all have a beginning, middle and an end. The most effective teaching (regardless of media or transmission method) has clearly articulated learning goals and a methodology for presenting these to the student. I think one of the great failures of the Web as a learning media is its lack of structure. The ability for the student to get distracted from the lesson at hand and follow whatever might grab their attention probably does as much to keep it from being utilized as any other reason. 

 A 1995 US Department of Education report reports that 50% of all schools had Internet access, but only 2% of teachers and 3% of students making use of on-line resources. I do not find these figures interesting from a historical perspective of I.T. adoption in the classroom. They lend support for Dillon's third myth that a large mass of on-line data will improve learning. Thomas Lowderbaugh developing curriculum support material for the Smithsonian Institution's Ocean Planet exhibit in 1995 concludes that the correlation between the lack of use and the lack of teacher access is in fact a causal relationship. Teachers can't get access so they don't the materials [42]. This explanation might be too simple. Kevin Donovan's does not support this causal relationship. He states that "[s]imply providing the public with access to data is insufficient to satisfy the goal of public education." What he is calling for is better access to value-added information not just a few online exhibitions or our collection catalogues [43]. I think we can all agree that the educational market is highly segmented. Detailed studies on learning styles and client needs will allow us to better understand the needs of each of these groups [44]. 

 Business Myth 

 Last year at this conference Kevin Donovan of Willoughby Associates raised the issue of I.T. in museums when he wrote, 

"that museums are making this investment [in automation technology] is all the more surprising given the unsatisfactory rates of return (ROI) that the past twenty years of pouring money and staff into museum automation projects has yielded, with the exception of gains in two areas: office automation and audit responsibilities of collections."[45]

 This echoes the 1990 findings of a study by P. Weill from an examination of commercial applications where gains were found in application of transactional systems (for example data processing), but were absent in either strategic systems (e.g. sales support) or informational investments (e.g. email infrastructure) [46]. 

 Those studying it have christened this problem the "Productivity Paradox", and it is one of the most interesting conundrums about the I.T. revolution. The statement "we see computers everywhere but not in the productivity statistics" attributed to Nobel Prize economist Robert Solow [47] succinctly expresses our dilemma we face in trying to quantify the relationship between our spending on I.T. and its supposed improvements in the operation of our businesses. There has been a growing body of analysis since the mid-1980s that the loss of productivity seen, particularly in the service sector, may be attributed to the wide spread deployment of I.T.. Steven Roach, an economist with Morgan Stanley provided the first econometric underpinnings for the conclusion that information worker has not increased for more than 20 years despite (or perhaps because) of increasing amounts of I.T. being deployed [48]. Paul Strassmann [49], Erik Brynjolfsson [50] and Thomas Landauer [51] all provide major analyses supporting this conclusion. However, a later study by Brynjolfsson and Hitt of firm-level productivity seems to run counter to this trend [52]. 

 This has important implications for I.T. in museums. Collectively we have had nearly 40 years experience and some measure of success with data processing applications, usually collections management systems. In the last decade we increasing amounts of I.T. is being deployed in all areas of the museum. Usually with all fingers pointing to how it has increased the efficiency of collection management functions. If these economic studies are to be believed much of this money could have been better spent. 

 Are We Doing Our Job Better? Areas for Additional Inquiry 

 I have spent the last 4800 words presenting a picture of information technology misunderstood and misapplied. With the huge sums of money being spent on creating a Web presence for museums I guess I expected more. I don't think we are living up to our own hype, and we actually stand in peril of believing the stuff we put in our grant applications. I think at present the weight of evidence stands against us. 

 Even through this weight of cynicism and fear I remain hopeful. We have been presented with a wonderful tool for furthering the mission of museums. We need to remember, however, it is only one tool and might not always be the best tool for the job at hand. We need to stand back and look at it for what the Web really is today, not for the magical potential it might possess. It is a tool unlike anything we have been handed before. We need to consider carefully how we deploy it, and at what cost. 

 We need real costs and better case studies before can we even begin to answer the questions of how to use the Web. We need to measure both our successes and more importantly our failures. We need solid econometrics to replace decisions made on beliefs. 

 There are learning curve issues internal (staff) and external (user) to our institutions regarding the technology adoption cycle for the Web. We need to understand the end user better - appreciating the significant differences in primary, secondary, post-secondary and continuing education markets. Most of all we need to avoid, as Postman would say, presenting entertainment as education. The worst side effect of the Web could be the continued "dumbing down" of inherently difficult concepts to meet the needs of the "edu-tainment" market. 

 Finally we need to remember why museums are museums - our collections. I know that every major museum now has to be equipped with a bookstore, gift shop, bar, restaurant, and live Sunday afternoon jazz. And that these are important for "reaching out to the community", "improving the visitor experience", and generating revenue. But, people come to our museums see our stuff, and hear what our experts can tell them about the objects. Nothing can replace the child's (or adult's for that matter) experience of the real thing. And all the "virtual museums" on the Web are not going to change that. 

End Notes 

[1] From an interview with Joesph Weizenbaum, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in "Computers and Education", (June 1984) BYTE 9(6), p.225 

[2] There have been many papers discussing this recently. See from example, Todd Oppenheimer, "The Computer Delusion", The Atlantic Monthly (July 1997), [http://www.the atlantic.com/issues/97jul/computer.htm]; Jeremy Schlosberg, "Why Multimedia Still Sucks", Salon21, [http://www.salonmagazine.com/march97/21st/articleb.html]; W. Wayt Gibbs, "Taking Computers to Task", Scientific American (July 1997), [http://www.sciam.com/0797issue/0797trends.html

[3] "A museum is defined in Article 2 para. 1 of the Statutes of the International Council of Museums as "a non-profit making, permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, and open to the public which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of people and their environment."" A full definition can be found at ICOM's web site at [http://www.icom.org/ethics

[4] I take this object-centric position because I believe museums are fundamentally about objects and collections. See Richard Gerrard (1996), "Stewardship, Collections Management and the New Technology: old problems, new challenges", Heritage Forum, [http://www.chin.gc.ca/] 

[5] Quoted in Cuban, Larry (1986), Teachers and Machines: The Classroom Use of Technology Since 1920, Teachers College Press: New York, p.11 

[6] Quoted in Cuban (1986), p. 9, from Harry A. Wise (1939), Motion Pictures as an Aid in Teaching American History, Yale University Press: New Haven, CT., p. 1. 

[7] For an excellent discussion of the history if information technology and its social impact see Steven Lubar (1993), InfoCulture: The Smithsonian Book of Information Age Inventions, (Houghton Mifflin: Boston, Mass.) although it lacks the richness and depth Dr. Lubar's book, the Smithsonian Institutions' exhibit "Information Age: People, Information and Technology" at [http://photo2.si.edu/infoage.html] is also worth a look. 

[8] National Education Association, "Audio-Visual Education in City School Systems", Research Bulletin 24 (Dec. 1946): 146-8, and National Education Association, "Audio-Visual Education in Urban School Districts, 1953-54", Research Bulletin 33 (Oct. 1955): 114. Data summarized in Cuban (1986), p.16, Table 1.1 and Table 1.2 respectively. 

[9] Cuban (1986) p. 18. 

[10] The issue of appropriate fit between curriculum and content for motion pictures was addressed early on. In 1910, George Kleine, collected a list of over 1000 educational films in his Catalogue of Educational Motion Pictures, see Cuban (1986) p.9 

[11] Cuban (1986) p. 19-20. 

[12] Darrow, Benjamin (1932), Radio: The Assistant Teacher, R.G. Adams: Columbus, OH., p. 79, quoted in Cuban (1986) p. 19. 

[13] Lelia Ormsby (1948), Audio Education in the Public Schools of California, unpublished dissertation Stanford University. Cited in Cuban (1986), p.20 

[14] Cuban (1986: 25) refers to the findings of a 1945 study by Norman Woelfel and Keith Tyler, Radio and the School, (World Books Co.: Yonkers-on-the-Hudson) which presents the results of a survey for non-adoption of 2000 principals: 

No radio equipment - 50% 

School schedule difficulties - 23% 

Unsatisfactory radio equipment - 19% 

Lack of information - 14% 

Poor radio reception - 11% 

Programs not related to curriculum - 11% 

Classwork more important - 10% 

Teachers not interested - 7% 

[15] For a timeline of NASA's early manned space flight see [http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/Timeline/100flt.html.] 

[16] Clark, Kenneth (1969), Civilization: A Personal View, BBC: London. The TV series was written and narrated by Kenneth Clark and directed by Michael Gill, and produced by Michael Gill and Peter Montagnon for BBC TV aired in 1970. 

[17] Bronowski, Jacob (1973), The Ascent of Man, BBC: London 

[18] Quoted in Lubar, Steven (1993), InfoCulture, Houghton Mifflin Company: New York, p.256 

[19] Cuban (1986), p.27 

[20] Ford Foundation has spend $20 million by 1961, and in 1962 the US Office of Education added another $32 million. In total by 1971 over $100 million had been spent. See Cuban (1986) p. 28 for a full discussion of funding. 

[21] See Cuban (1986) p.46-51 for a discussion of five surveys conducted in the 1970s and 80s. 

[22] This list is extracted from Bruce J. Biddle and Peter Rossi (1966), "Educational Media, Education and Society", p. 21-2, in B. Biddle and P. Rossi (eds.), The New Media and Education (Aldine Publishing Co.: Chicago, IL). 

[23] Clifford Stoll (1995), Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway, (Anchor Books: New York, NY), p.147 

[24] For information about the project see [http://www.sunburst.com/mimi.html]. Neil Postman (1985), Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, (Viking: New York), pp. 149-154 

[25] Postman (1985) p.153. 

[26] For a brief history of the development of the WWW at CERN see [http://wwwcn.cern.ch/pdp/ns/ben/TCPHIST.html]. 

[27] Available at [http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/intro.html]. Initially available at the Library's 'anonymous ftp' site in 1992, the online exhibit was converted in April, 1996, to the World Wide Web 

[28] FTP (file transfer protocol) was released in July 1972. An excellent history of the Internet is Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon (1996), Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet, (Simon &Schuster: New York, NY) 

[29] For a brief history of the developement of Mosaic see NCSA's web site at [http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/SDG/Presentations/NRC/Overview.html]. 

[30] Available at [http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/vatican/toc.html

[31] Bearman, David, 1993, "Exhibits on the Internet", Archives and Museums Informatics 7(1): 8 

[32] See Paul Strassmann (1997), The Squandered Computer, (Information Economics Press: New Canaan, CT). 

[33] Biddle and Rossi's predictions of the impact of new media the decades following are remarkably accurate: "Our prediction is that airborne educational television (MPATI) is doomed to be abandoned." (1966) p.23. 

[34] William Y Arms (Vice-President for Computing Services, (Carnegie Mellon University) 1993, "The Institutional Impact of Electronic Information", a paper presented at "Technology, Scholarship and the Humanities: The Implications of Electronic Information", 30 Sept. - 2 Oct. 1992. National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, Irvine California. [http://www.cni.org/docs/tsh/Arms.html

[35] Al Gore (1991), "Infrastructure for the Global Village", reprinted in (1995) The Computer in the 21st Century, Special Issue, Scientific American, pp.156-9 

[36] Richard A. Joseph (1997), "Political Myth, High Technology and the Information Superhighway: An Australian perspective", Telematics and Informatics 14 (3): 289-301 

[37] Vartan Gregorian, (1993), Keynote Address for "Technology, Scholarship and the Humanities: The Implications of Electronic Information", 30 Sept. - 2 Oct. 1992. National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, Irvine California. [http://www.cni.org/docs/tsh/Keynote.html

[38] SchoolNet is run by Industry Canada and not Heritage Canada (which is responsible for museums). This could be because parts of the project, such as SchoolNet Digital Collections which creates new Canadian content for the Web, are actually job creation schemes for unemployed youth as well as a tool to get Canadian content on-line. 

[39] The SchoolNet site is located at [http://www.schoolnet.ca/site/]. The school number data was provided in an email from Beth Clarke , Communication Officer, SchoolNet, 23-Sep-97. 

[40] Andrew Dillon (1996), "Myths, Misconceptions and an Alternative Perspective on Information Usage and the Electronic Medium", in J.-F Rouet, J.J. Levonen, A.P. Dillon, and R.J. Spiro (eds.), Hypertext and Cognition, (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Hillsdale, NJ), [http://www.slis.indiana.edu/adillon/adillon-myths.html

[41] See for example, Roger Penrose (1989), The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and the Laws of Physics, (Oxford University Press: Oxford) and Daniel Dennett (1996) Kinds of Minds: Towards an Understanding of Consciousness, (Basic Books: New York, NY) 

[42] The US Department of Education report is cited in Thomas E. Lowderbaugh (1995), "Teachers' Material onthe Internet: A Progress Report", in David Bearnan (ed.), Hands On Hypermedia and Interactivity in Museums, (AMI: Pittsburgh, PA), pp.135-140 

[43] Kevin Donovan (1997), "The Best of Intentions: Public Access, the Web & the Evolution of Museum Automation", p.133, in David Bearman and Jennifer Trant (eds.), Museums and the Web'97: Selected Papers, (Archives and Museums Informatics: Pittsburgh, PA), pp.127-133 

[44] See, for example, Susan Gautsch (1993) "An Analysis of Hypermedia Program Architecture with Individual Differences of Learners," Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, III. Media, vol. 2, pp.482-487, and David Barr (1997), "Website Learning", [http://www.digiserve.com/adl_ss/research/body.html

[45] Donovan (1977), p.127 

[46] P.Weill (1990), Do Computers Pay Off~, (ICIT Press: Washington, DC), cited in Erik Brynjolfsson, "The Productivity Paradox of Information Technology: Review and Assessment", Communications of the ACM (Dec. 1993), [http://ccs.mit.edu/CCSWP130/CCSWP130.html

[47] Quoted in Paul Strassmann (1997), "Will big spending on computers guarantee profitability?", DATAMATION (Feb. 1997), [http://www.strassmann.com/pubs/datamation0297/

[48] Steven Roach (Aug. 1898) "American's White Collar Productivity Dilemma", Manufacturing Engineering 

[49] P. Strassmann (1997), The Squandered Computer, (Information Economics Press: New Canaan, CT). See also the extensive bibliography in Thomas K Landauer (1995), The Trouble With Computers: Usefulness, Usability and Productivity, (MIT Press: Cambridge, Mass.) 

[50] Brynjolfsson (1993) 

[51] Landauer (1995) 

[52] Erik Brynjolfsson and Lorin Hitt (1994), "Paradox Lost? Firm-level Evidence of High Returns to Information Systems Spending", [http://ccs.mit.edu/CCSWP162/CCSWP162.html

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