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published: March 2004
analytic scripts updated:
November 7, 2010

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License

Online Museum Discussion Forums; What do we have? What do we need?
Michael Houghton, South Bank University, United Kingdom
Jonathan Bowen, South Bank University, United Kingdom
Roxane Bernier, Universit‚ de Montr‚al, Canada

Mini-Workshop: Opinions: Professional Forum

This Professional Forum is designed to provide attendees with an opportunity to critique and plan better ways of communicating and debating among museum professionals.

Virtual communities have become increasingly popular for the general public through the use of newsgroups, electronic mailing lists, and chat rooms. Cultural institutions have not escaped this trend when they decided to widen their mandate with an "original landscape" for disseminating content; that is, through on-line museum forums. However, it appears that web-based discussion groups have failed to arouse the curiosity of a diversified audience, or create a museum-like community. We discuss this topic in this paper.

The authors present the results of a survey on museum forums established under http://forums.museophile.net with a view to improving web-based discussion facilities for museum staff. We also provide information on software for museums to aid the installation and maintenance of mailing lists and group discussions, much of which is freely available on the Internet.