CREATING A VIRTUAL MUSEUM

Introduced by Paul Birkeland-Green on 26 September 1997

Lack of appropriate space temporarily prohibits a formal museum display at our premises, but a
virtual' museum provides a unique opportunity for world-wide access and for the recording of our
collections. The existing Institution site on the World Wide Web will steadily be developed to provide three
levels of access and service.
Computer-based viewers go on an adventure of learning' rather than observing static exhibits.
Specimens from our collections, selected by the Curator, are being photographed and videoed and
these images digitised so that they can be viewed on a computer.
Visitors to our website will be given a general view of a selection of items and be able to obtain
increasingly more detailed information about any one, if they choose, by selecting it and following a trail of
pages. Text or commentary in foreign languages can be provided to encourage global use.
Institution members will use a password to get access to extra items in the museum and to
participate in its affairs. Discussion groups may eventually meet globally!
Researchers, world-wide, will for a fee have privileged access to items of specialised interest and
importance, such as our geological type specimens, which it will be possible to view from all round.
In discussion it was conceded that visitors could get lost, but this is helped by an easy way of
going home' to the beginning from any point. The tour' is made easier by the use of images and human
logic to move around the museum.
Such a service should place the Institution's museum well ahead of most others by the 21st
century.

Geoff Catchpole