Title:Cooperative Visits for Museum WWW Sites a Year Later: Evaluating the Effect
Authors:Paolo Paolini, Thimoty Barbieri
Publication:MW2000: Museums and the Web 2000

"Webtalk I" is a powerful tool that allows creating Virtual Reality three-dimensional worlds, in which people can meet, by means of an Internet connection. Each one of the virtual visitors can remotely explore the Virtual world. In addition a virtual visitor can examine and interact with components of the world. Like in a real world situation, a visitor can see where the other visitors are currently located, where they are going, and what they are doing. Visitors exchange opinions or information, with other visitors, through the keyboard. Visitors can interact with 3D objects, sharing the experience of the interaction, with other visitors. An experimental application of "Webtalk I" was presented last year during the closing plenary of MW 99. It consisted of a reconstruction of a virtual museum, based on the Milan Science Museum, in which visitors could operate Leonardo's machines. With by experience of "Webtalk I" become due new requirement and put new scope to get over some limits of the system. "Webtalk II" 's architecture allowed to go beyond bottle's neck over the server and over the client; it allowed to link with a lot of user, thanks to use of the multicast; and it will guarantee the automatic generation of the worlds and three dimensional objects, looding from database 3D. Furthermore, with "Webtalk II", the appearance of the cooperation between the users reinforced through the formality of the further cooperative metaphor. After extensive testing, the environment, called "Virtual Leonardo" was officially opened to the public on June 7, 1999, in an extended and debugged version. In this paper we evaluate the results of the first 6 month: how many visitors we had, what they did, the problems they had, the suggestions they gave us. We tried also some experimental virtual guided tours (one during ICHIM 99), with interesting results in educational terms.