• THE CHANGING PLACE OF INFORMATION: An examination and evaluation of how the context in which an object is set affects the information which it conveys.

    Christopher Serbutt
    CityLIS, Library & Information Science
    Museums--Curatorship, Information behavior
    Item Type:
    City, University of London
    museum objects, British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum practice, Information behaviour, Documents
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    This research examined how the context in which an object is placed affects the information that person viewing the object gleans from it. It used objects displayed in museums as they were easily accessible and were a ready source of a variety of types of display and information. It used the concept of ‘object as document’, initially developed by Paul Otlet and Suzanne Briet and further developed by Michael Buckland and Kiersten Latham, who also specifically set out how a museum object can be a document. It gathered data using observational techniques with an application developed using FileMaker database software which could be used on an iPad and which can easily be adapted to different situations. Museum curators were also interviewed about how they displayed objects and what information they believed it was important to make available in order to help visitors understand these objects. Similarly, they discussed what was important to leave out. This research backed up their ideas regarding the level of displayed information. It found that context does make some difference, especially if that context is an unexpected or unusual context. However, it also found that the familiarity or relationship of the object to the person was equally as important. The quantitative data collected regarding information directly displayed or intrinsically with the object supports the concept of object as document.
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
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