TourML is a specification for building, sharing, and preserving mobile tours that can be used by museums of all types and sizes to create and deploy mobile experiences. This project is meant to deliver mobile standards and open-source tools for the benefit of the entire cultural technology community.
TourML was created to serve as a simple and portable representation for tour content. Having a common language for this content will enable content management systems, kiosks, and mobile applications to speak a common language. Additionally, users of TourML will be better positioned to share and sustain their content no matter how the technology that we use to deliver these tours changes.
All TourML Documentation is hosted on the GitHub project Wiki. Here are some quick links to get you started:
The TourML specification has withstood a great number of tour applications, ranging from the quick and dirty to deep, complex narratives. Given the stability and maturity it has shown we have now released version 1.0.0. Along with this release comes a great deal of documentation.
The TourML & TAP: a toolkit supporting museum mobile experiences project seeks to develop tools and a specification for building, sharing and preserving mobile tours that can be used by museums of all types and sizes to create and deploy their own mobile experiences. Sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and led by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the TourML & TAP project continues important work within the community to create mobile standards and open-source tools.
The project’s work, which began in 2009, has been heavily driven by the museum community, and the TourML & TAP grant submission continues that practice by featuring a diverse partnership of leading thinkers about mobile tours in museums. Formal partners of the grant include: the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, Dallas Museum of Art, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Minnesota Historical Society, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and Smithsonian Office of the Chief Information Officer.
A two-year project starting October 1, 2011 and running through September 30, 2013, the TourML & TAP grant will address significant challenges facing many museums who are planning, developing, and using mobile content tours. As highlighted in the 2011 Museum and Mobile Survey, the pace of mobile content development in museums is staggering. This project’s goals are to ensure that the content created for these tours is well-described, sharable, easily-migrated between authoring tools, and supports long-term preservation. Intended audiences for the grant’s work include museums of many sizes and types with staff who posses varying degrees of technical proficiency. Perhaps more important than the tangible products of the grant, this project seeks consensus among museums and the vendor community regarding the nature of mobile tours, and offers a powerful model for how open-source and proprietary systems can co-exist within the museum community. Initial evidence of this community can be seen in the letters of support (for an open-source project) provided by many of the important vendors in the mobile museum space.