Category Archives: Ipad

Ipads at Nymans

I’m often blogging about all the great things other organisations are doing when it comes to social or digital media. This week I’m going to talk about the use of new technology at Nymans House and Gardens. The estate itself was home to the creative Messel family. Ludwig Messel buying the estate in 1890 starting the now famous garden. The house itself was to suffer from a fire in 1947 that would leave most of it destroyed, although it would be partially rebuilt and is now open to the public.

Nymans shiny new Ipad2

I’ve blogged previously about the potential uses of tablets, and in particular the use of Ipad as a cheap(er) way of doing interactives or allowing access to information. Nymans have recently went down this route and bought an Ipad2 to be used by Room Stewards and yesterday I uploaded/set up some content. I’ve been working on creating digitial versions of photo albums which were in the stores and are now available for members of the public to view on the Ipad without damaging the originals.

House Steward and Volunteers check out some digital version of photo albums on the new Ipad2

I think the thing I really like about them is the way you can pass the tablet around and it becomes a communal object in a way I’m not sure happens with large interactives.

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Ipad 2

I was convinced I posted this entry it doesn’t appear to have worked. This entry was written when the Ipad 2 was released!

I don’t think I can remember the last time the release of an electronic device caused so much of a stir across all the media channel’s from the radio through to Twitter going wild yesterday afternoon. Well apart from maybe the other apple devices that have been launched over the last few years. Yesterday as you will probably have heard saw the release of Ipad 2. I don’t think I could do a blog that touched on digital media without talking about it.

Unless you’re a tech geek you’re probably wondering exactly what all the fuss is about. As you’ll probably have guessed this is the long-awaited update to the original Ipad and with any update apple have worked to try to improve its design especially considering stiff opposition from Tablets running Google’s open source Android system.

There are already plenty of review all over the web which can be seen here and here. However from a heritage perspective a couple of these are probably worth noting, firstly the new Ipad 2 is thinner and lighter. Secondly its a much faster device and it has better graphics than its predecessor. Thirdly it’s battery life remains the same as the previous incarnation of the Ipad. Finally and possibly most importantly the price for the new Ipad2 is probably going to be the same as the old Ipad. Of course there are lots of other useful features on the new Ipad 2 from dual cameras through to HDMI out ports.

I’ve and others before me have mentioned that tablet devices are incredibly useful in digital projects at Museum and Heritage sites. Certainly these improvements makes the Ipad 2 slightly more useful. It’s probably also worth noting that there are increasingly different types of tablet on the market and apple certainly isn’t the only player in the market when it comes to tablets anymore!

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Ones to Watch in 2011

As ever at the start of the year, various media outlets produce a list of top picks in 2011. Mashable the news website and blog which focuses on all that is new social, mobile and web wise have rather helpfully put together a list of the 95+ predictions for the web in 2011.

They’re all worth a read, however I picked out a couple which I think are the most interesting with regards to museums and heritage and in particular collections.  I’ve also dropped in a few examples and ideas how they could possibly benefit our work in engaging new audiences.

My first pick of the 95 predictions is in the category of predictions for social networks in 2011. I think the most interesting is number 6; that ‘mobile photo sharing will become all the rage’. I think this has loads of potential, especially when you consider the increasing relaxed rules with regards to photography at some of the trusts places.

I instantly thought of a blog entry written by Nina Simon about navigation by recommendation. The question she asked of the visitors at the museum was what they recommended they saw. However the main thing I liked was the pictures of people with their favourite object. I love the pictures of the visitors with their favourite objects, especially the chap in the AC/DC t-shirt with his favourite armoire.

When you think about it, the surge in numbers of people with smart phones (3 of the 4 people who I regularly share an office with currently have an Iphone) mobile photosharing means this sort of activity is far easier to do and is instantly sharable. You could even create a challenge on foursquare or scvngr for people to take pictures of their favourite object. I think it’s a bit more interesting than the traditional ‘collection highlights’.

Which brings me to my next interesting prediction from the 5 predictions for mobile in 2011. The most interesting thing I noted was the prediction of the increased use of the Ipad and the use of tablets.  I can’t really justify buying one myself (yet!) but they do however provide a relatively cheap way for places to engage digitally with audiences.

Major institutions are using them to display specifically designed app’s. The Brooklyn Museum took a simpler approach and updated 25 wikipedia pages with research they had gathered during the production of the seductive subversion exhibition. The information was displayed on an ipad during the exhibition for visitors to access. A simple but effective way of using new technology!

I suppose ipad’s bring me neatly to my last pick from the e-book predictions. The use of tablet devices and smart phones has also saw the rise of the e-book.  Way back shortly after I started this job in July I talked about if e-books could ever replace the real thing. It seems increasingly likely to me that e-books will replace your standard paperback novel, as sad as this will be for many people with new technology there are always opportunities. E-books and Ipads have made it relatively cheap for museums to digitize books/manuscripts  in storage or behind glass cases in a way not generally possible previously.

So those are some of the ones to watch in 2011 and a couple of possible applications. What are you’re ones to watch in 2011?

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iPad Archaeology

I stumbled across this today while working on a mac doing some photo editing. Archaeologist working at the Pompei site are using iPads in the field. Not strictly linked to collections, but its interesting to see how they are using them.

The team are using a paperless approach, where all data is collected using off the shelf apps on Ipads, like iDraw and Omnigraffle rather than taking hand notes and then carrying out data entry. The information is then transferred to on-site server which then links to the project database. The project director believes that using iPads has saved a year of data entry.

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Pseudo Books?

Part of the collections of Scotney Castle are seven visiting albums compiled by Christopher and Elizabeth Hussey covering a period from April 1936 through to September 1968. 

Watercolour and pictures of Corsham Court Wilshire © National Trust / Charles Thomas

The first four albums for the period 1936-1955 are a record of country house visits paid almost entirely in England, Wales and Scotland, while the three albums for 1961-1968 record foreign holidays and travels.

Over the last week I’ve been developing ways we could use these stunning albums in new ways. The first and simplest I’ve been working on is combining all the images into a single .PDF to use as an eBook.

The second has been working on has been creating a page flip version of the album for use on a external device. Having no skill in creating flash files myself, I’ve been scouring the web and I’ve come up with a number of ways to do this, either using software or sending .PDF files to be converted. I’ve also discovered this free version of doing it, so far it seems to be working fine!

Certainly technology like this is exciting and allows us to look at documents and books which are maybe too valuable or distant to be read in a traditional way. Digital versions of books seem to becoming more and more popular. Something apple seem keen to capitalise on with the launch of the book version of Itunes…..Ibooks!

Having access to information easily is important and interesting but is the wow factor of lost in seeing only a digital copy? Can they really ever replace the real thing? Answers on an electronic postcard!


Filed under Ebooks, Flip-Page, Ipad, National Trust