This is cool – museum use of QR Codes:

QRATOR will create new models for public engagement and informal learning in museums using handheld mobile devices and new interactive digital labels.

The project will create small printed tags (QR codes) for museum objects, linked to an online database. These will allow the public to view curated information and, most notably, to send back their own interpretation and views via their own mobile phone or interactive digital label. Their thoughts subsequently become part of the object’s history and ultimately the display itself via the interactive label system, allowing the display of comments and information directly next to the artefacts.

The project will be based around technology developed at UCL’s [University College London] Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis and the Tales of Things site, which has developed a method for cataloguing physical objects online which could make museums and galleries a more interactive experience. QRATOR takes the technology a step further bringing the opportunity to move the discussion of objects direct to the museum label and onto users’ mobile phones, allowing the creation of a sustainable, world-leading model for two-way public interaction in museum spaces.

Related: this post from September describing arts organizations’ possible application of QR Codes, encouraging public engagement, deepening relationships with patrons; and an earlier post regarding story-telling and -sharing (involves Tales of Things).


Objects With Back Stories -

This is a great NYT Magazine “Consumed” column by Rob Walker, and worth a read, even if you don’t find the thing-story subject as intriguing as I do.

The longer I think about it, the more I want to see such barcoding technology adopted by performing arts groups and other organizations, e.g., in the tagging (by building managers) of seats in concert halls, theaters, and other venues. Audience members could, over time, add their stories to their seats’ tags, recording their reactions to performances and/or information about other aspects of their experiences, leaving, in effect, a digital legacy that connects them to fellow patrons, the performers, the arts organization(s). The general idea is the creation of recorded stories, layers of experiential kinds of anecdotes.

Also, if, say, I were to make a financial gift that helped support the installation of a seat in the concert hall, or bench in my favorite park, I – the donor – could record digitally what inspired me to make such a gift. Many gifts of this nature are recognized with the placement of a plaque on the funded item; the use of coded tags would complement the plaque thing. If I record my “story” on my object’s tag, it’s likely that I (donor Molly) will be linked even more deeply to both the object and the non-profit entity that oversees it (think donor relationship-building opportunities here). Perhaps that part of the park is my favorite people-watching spot, or maybe my mother was a master gardener, and I made the gift in her honor or memory – anyway, you get the story-legacy-sharing picture.

So, thanks to Rob’s influence, I’ve uploaded over the past month two – count ‘em, two – items (and their stories!) to (The two stories can be accessed via the Itizen Web site or by scanning the two QR-coded tags.) This post about the the second object and story contains a link to the first one, along with other QR Code-related info.

I’m now giving some thought to uploading to Itizen a third item. Stay tuned.