A couple of weeks ago I was on the train to Glasgow with my colleague Mark who, like me, is a major iPhone enthusiast and being the geeks that we are, talk soon turned to that all important question: ‘If you could design your own iPhone application – what would it be?’
I don’t think I even gave Mark a chance to pitch his idea before I blurted out mine – ‘An application that would tell you all the museums and galleries nearest to your location.’
All I can say is, if walls have ears then so do train carriages, because 4 days later Mark emailed me this press release, ‘Culture calling – right on your phone’, my first thoughts – that’s my app!
So DCMS (Department of Culture, Media & Sport) have given Culture24 a £50,000 grant to develop an application for smartphones which will allow people to find and explore their nearest museum or gallery, (an ingenious idea, I’m sure you’ll agree). Although a lot of the information will be drawn from Culture24’s database, the app will also allow museums and galleries to add content themselves. So, if you don’t know your UGC from your DDE, then perhaps it’s time to learn! (I should perhaps confess to only learning this myself recently, it’s ‘User Generated Content’ and ‘Direct Data Entry’.)
Culture24 depends on UGC from museums, galleries, libraries and archives throughout Britain. Museums can request a username and password which then enables the organisation to update their information with Culture24 which is then searchable via all the tags, links and type of media the museum inputs (similar to Museums Galleries Scotland’s website services for its members). Opening hours, types of collection, events, exhibitions, etc. are all capable of being included. It’s a terrific resource that reaches out beyond your local community into the world, Culture24 website was one of The Guardian’s essential sites of 2009.
According to Wikipedia there are currently over 185,000 iPhone apps available and there have been over 4 billion downloads of apps since they became available in July 2008. So even if you’ve never heard of iPhone’s, smartphone’s and apps before, it’s certainly worth being aware of the possibilities they present to us all.