Research project: Identity-based personalised mobile content


Start date:

Museum investigators

  • Dr Lynda Kelly , Manager Online, Editing and Audience Research
  • Michael Harvey , Head of Exhibitions & Creative Services

External investigators

  • Professor Michael Fry, The University of Sydney
  • Professor Judy Kay, CHAI Principal, The University of Sydney

Funded by


The Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is a major research collaboration between 18 industry (media and finance), government and university partners which is funded by its partners and the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Programme. There area number of 'use cases' designed to investigate a range of areas in more detail, including this project: Identity-based personalised mobile content for cultural institutions.

The objectives of this use case are to:

  • Investigate the feasibility of providing context aware content (e.g. Cultural collections & related information from multiple sources) to mobile devices based on users’ own life experiences and interests – i.e. dynamic profiling
  • Provide an enhanced user experience while encouraging them into a deeper and longer lasting relationship with museums
  • Research the potential of providing content based on themes from across a range of agencies, including the Australian Museum, Powerhouse Museum, Historic Houses Trust and Taronga Zoo as initial partners (value is in the sum of all the collections)
  • Broaden/improve community access to collections – much of which is never on display
  • Build communities of like-interest
  • Generate revenue by adding value (micropayments) & driving visitations back to the museums
  • Understand whether basing user experiences on a series of already developed models of visiting motivations is a valid course to pursue
  • Enable users to use and re-use content in new ways and add value to NSW collections

The following narrative demonstrates what the outcomes of the project might be like:

You have arrived at the Museum – mobile, internet-enabled device in hand, for a day out with your girlfriend and your two under 5s. Upon entering your device beeps – it has recognised that you just recently visited Egypt. It directs you to the Museum’s newest exhibition, Art of the Pharaohs, downloading the exhibition floor plan and suggested pathways. Through mapping it selects the objects from the different historic sites you visited on your trip, downloading both photos and links to further information about these objects to your device.

Your device also reminds you to visit Kidspace for the special Time to Play Ancient Egypt show at 12.30 as it recognises this as one of the reasons you both visited today.

Navigating your way around the Museum you point your device to a series of seemingly hidden codes placed around the displays –your device happily pings away whenever it picks one up for you to read at your leisure later. As you take photos of your visit your device automatically uploads them to both the Museum’s website and your Facebook page to share later with friends and family.

As you enjoy the Museum’s Surviving Australia exhibition, especially the crocodiles section of the Dangerous Australians touch table, content from across agencies is being loaded to your device. Further information about crocodiles from Taronga Zoo; fashion items made from crocodile skin in the Powerhouse Museum’s collection; Indigenous artworks from the Art Gallery of NSW’s collection and crocodile Indigenous rock carvings from around Sydney’s historic sites using Sensis technology. Recent stories from Fairfax digital on crocodile sightings/attacks is also downloaded through accessing their online archive.

Welcome to the world of identity-based personalised mobile content.

Dr Lynda Kelly , Manager Online, Editing and Audience Research
Michael Harvey , Head of Exhibitions & Creative Services
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