The digital museum: On studying new trajectories for the music museum
Alcina Cortez, Inet-md, Portugal
AbstractThis paper sets out to discuss the opportunities opened up for sound and music exhibition projects specifically designed for displaying works of sound art within the scope of digital museums. Taking as our case study the "Sound Diary" exhibition, curated by John Barber, which has been on display in the Web museum "unplace, a museum without a place" in 2015, I provide delegates with the results of an exploratory study I carried out with volunteers for this exhibition. My main aim, of interest to both researchers in the social sciences and professionals in museum and music studies, involves investigating how museumgoers engaged with both the sonorous experience and the self-curatorial process. Ultimately, I intend my work to contribute to developing the burgeoning field of online music/sound museums.
Keywords: digital, museum, music and sound exhibitions, visitor's study, soundart
A significant feature of contemporary museum studies has been the quest to democratise museum knowledge for broader audiences. For the majority of museums, this has led to the emergence of digital technology deployed mainly for the reproduction and dissemination of objects from already existing physical collections, with the objects ending up exhibited in conventional ways even if within virtual and networked contexts. On the other hand, digital technologies have also opened a significant upwards trajectory that attains a perfect fit with another quest of contemporary museum studies: achieving meaningful engagement with museumgoers. More specifically, digital technologies have come to enable museumgoers to perform curating gestures, which means there are as many artworks as the number of people engaging with them. In other words, these outcomes prove temporary rather than stable, and this points towards the process proving more important than the result. Annet Dekker (2015) has insightfully termed this process “curation in progress,” which advocates for museums becoming not only places of exhibition but, notably, places of production.
For the museum of music and/or sound in particular, the emergence of digital technology has opened up thought-provoking possibilities that clearly extend beyond creating opportunities to make the wonders of extant music museum collections of musical instruments more accessible. Indeed, digital technology has not only allowed the exhibition of sound-related and musical artifacts in virtual museums of music, thus to be interpreted and experienced, but also enabled serious consideration of musical and sound databases and archives, thus valuing and safeguarding them. Last but not least, the above-mentioned “curating in progress” approaches have proved very interesting to Internet-based museums of sound and music and leading to noteworthy creative proposals for museumgoers.
This paper sets out to discuss the opportunities opened up for sound and music exhibition projects specifically designed for displaying works of sound art within the scope of digital museums. Taking as our case study the “Sound Diary” exhibition, curated by John Barber, which has been on display in the Web museum unplace, a museum without a place in 2015, I provide delegates with the results of an exploratory study I carried out with volunteers for this exhibition. My main aim, of interest both to researchers in the social sciences and to professionals in museum and music studies, involves investigating just how museumgoers engaged with both the sonorous experience and the self-curatorial process. Ultimately, I intend my work to contribute to developing the burgeoning field of online music/sound museums.
2. Towards the digital museum of sound and music
The growing significance attributed to dealing with contemporary Web grammar as a sign that museums stand at the forefront of museum practices and democratising knowledge has boosted the real interest of these museums in providing audiences with Internet-based settings. There are two different most common outcomes: designing an online museum facade, and designing Web exhibitions, whether permanent or temporary. Museum Web homepages are mainly expected to parallel the museum facade and its informative intent, and so its development does not foster any extraordinary discussions regarding how this means might become successfully innovative.
Regarding how museums are responding to the challenges of digital technologies when developing digital heritage discourses delivered in the form of Web exhibitions, these seem to take on a two-fold facet: on the one hand, they appear mainly governed by the digitalization of the museum’s collections and so simply offer up open-access databases that end up replicating the existent on-site exhibitions with broader contextual information. Displays for these online collections are typified by thematic solutions to narratives, especially within fixed hierarchical story lines of themes and subthemes resembling the modernist museum and its intact authority (Barranha & Martins, 2015; Cameron, 2003). On the other hand, a more flexible strand strives for the museum to provide visitors with semantic navigational systems endowing free-choice interpretations in accordance with a more postmodern approach that points to non-hierarchical structures for storage and interpretation. Some authors confidently contemplate the Web’s potentialities for increasing creative patterns of exigency in keeping with how these generate singular material disheveling the existing order of things and so remaining as a fertile terrain for discussing novelty (Cameron, 2003).
The practice of digitalizing actual museum collections to govern Internet-based exhibition discourses clearly outstrips that of specifically creating challenging new exhibition contents and interpretative grammars. In fact, this does seem the selected trajectory for the majority of the Web-digital exhibitions counterparts to Western museums, particularly whenever their focus proves either art works or ethnographic artifacts. Discussions regarding the development of Web exhibition-platforms for art and ethnographic museums, libraries, and archives mainly focus on the effective transportation and dissemination of their existent collections from the on-site to the online settings, the relevance and preservation of computer-based artworks, and how to maintain social interaction on these Web spaces (Bandelli, 1999; Cameron, 2010; Henning, 2011; Muller, 2010). Nevertheless, when it comes to dwelling on the specific case of the museum of music and the challenges it poses, this picture might seem stripped of context. Although I might agree to the view that Web platforms for the music museum can also develop so as to replicate and engage in dialogue with the existent collections of musical instruments, I would rather prefer to focus on the scope the Web opens up regarding the exhibition of sound artifacts and the associated practices of listening and visitor participation. Nevertheless, such an approach entails beginning to redefine the notion of museum object or artifact, a quest that has recently started to invite some attention.
There has been increasing worldwide recognition of music and sound as intangible cultural heritage stimulated in part by the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity approved in Paris in 2003. Nevertheless, some authors have made reference to the materiality of music and sound and thus challenged the conventional approach to it as an immaterial substance (Clarke, 2012; O’Keeffe, 2013; Straw, 2012). Indeed, a growing awareness around the impracticality of a non-arbitrary model for distinguishing intangible from tangible heritage is attracting followers. Should music affect us, then it is material. Music proves material as long as it offers the audience an opportunity to react. In other words, music would not exist if we had no access to sound (O’Keeffe, 2013, p. 95).
Furthermore, everything, be it an object or an event, has affordances, a term coined by Gibson in 1966, which provide opportunities to a perceiver (Clarke, 2012, p. 337). The perceiver becomes exposed to the meaning and social specifications of music within his/her framework of listening practices rather than to the acoustic characters of sounds (Dibben, 2012, p. 350; Macdonald, 2013, p. 83). This latter assumption falls into the domain of an ecological approach that studies music and sound in terms of its materiality. Schulze (2013) also posits that sound must be studied in terms of its corporealisation, as the aurality of culture is grounded in the corporeality of human beings (p. 196). It seems to me that the above reasoning on the materiality of music and sound beyond doubt constitutes an argument for sound representing a museum object in its own right. Following this, the distance from musical or sound objects to musical or sound artifacts then proves very close. Indeed, while within the museum, a music or sound object does also become an artifact (Mortensen, 2012, pp. 22–33). A musical artifact reaches beyond the sound itself playing within the exhibition space to also encompass the material conditions of the listening experiences in their widest sense. For Sterne (2013), “as a concept, soundscape is artefactual, which is to say it comes out of a particular cultural moment and location” (p. 184).
To put it simply, both the notions of musical or sound object and musical or sound artifact, along with the rationales on the materiality of music and sound, enable them to be treated as a fully fledged object in its own right.
In line with this, some scholars have displayed singular interests in exploring sound and auditory singularities and narratives in museum settings and establishing the museum exhibition of music and sound as an upward trajectory for museums of such remit (Baker, Istvandity, & Nowak, 2016; Bijsterveld et al., 2013; Bubaris, 2014; Cox, 2015; Leonard, 2014; Mortensen, 2012; Mortensen & Vestergaard, 2013; Schulze, 2013; Stocker, 1994, 1998).
Despite the contemporariness of this body of literature, this exciting approach has benefited, it seems to me, from the merging of two compelling forces: on the one hand, a pervasive and profound influence from an extensive production of knowledge about sound substances and affordances with a view to promoting sonic sensibility. Among these, the seminal contributions by Schaeffer (2005 ), McLuhan (2005 ), and Schafer (2005 ) are of particular note. More recently, however, sound has also become subject to sustained attention from many disciplines across the arts, social sciences, and humanities (Born, 2013, p. 4) in a concerted focus that might partially result from the need to reflect upon the more recent effects of media technologies on the sensory spectrum and practices. Among the contributions striving for people to benefit from auditory singularities, it is worth mentioning the accounts of authors whose notions and rationales equip curators with a range of promising perspectives with which to encode and exhibit music and sound objects (Bijsterveld & Dijck, 2009; Blesser & Salter, 2009; Bull & Back, 2003; Collins, Tessler, & Kapralos, 2014; DeNora, 2000; Erlmann, 2004; Feld, 2003; Hesmondhalgh, 2013; Pinch & Bijsterveld, 2012; Sterne, 2003, 2012; Turino, 2008; Voegelin, 2010). This extensive literature allows for the engendering of aesthetic admiration, emotion, pleasure, and memories in music and sound; at the same time, this also acknowledges the music and sound historical, economic, social, political, and semiotic dimensions.
Enabling the exhibition of music and sound in a museum also entails a shift in the assumptions and practices of the museum. In fact, since the first origins of museum, exhibition practices have primarily remained visually orientated (Alpers, 1991; Bennett, 1995, 2011). The longstanding tradition of the museum as a place of silence coupled with the lack of appropriate technology for dealing with sound properties, such as its immateriality and formlessness, have long since pushed music museums to detach their focus from music and sound to the exclusive exhibition of material objects, such as musical instrument collections. Nevertheless, developments in sound technologies are currently providing music exhibition designers with ingenious devices for overcoming the complexities of sound bleeding out into open galleries. Such technological upheavals, together with the above-mentioned theoretical shifts and the new faith in the potentialities of sound as an immersive tool for museum audiences to benefit from, have prompted a new wave of hype placing sound as the core subject of several exhibitive initiatives. Approaches range from exhibiting sound as a cultural artifact in the realm of tribute exhibitions—David Bowie is, organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2013; Bjork, organized by MoMA in New York in 2015—to a framework where it adds new layers of significance to existent works or as a means to elicit sound art works—Soundscapes held in The National Gallery in London; The Forty Part Motet, displayed at SFMOMA in San Francisco; Soundings, displayed at MoMA in New York; Support Structure, held in the Whitechapel Gallery in London, and many more.
In keeping with the above-mentioned publications, it is thus my firm conviction that the museum of music has the mission to harbour sound and music as part of human experience and to let music and sound be told. This endows it with the responsibility for delivering events in which sound stands at the forefront as content so as to foster sound listening, awareness, and engagement alongside the responsibility for helping people explore culture, memory, and identity.
Nevertheless, it puzzles me to wonder and note that, to my knowledge, no particular attention has been attributed to the groundbreaking potentialities for the Web counterpart of the music and sound museum to effectively overcome the complexities of exhibiting music in an on-site space without, roughly speaking, any constraints whatsoever. As such, my aim here is to further strengthen the knowledge regarding the subject so as to tackle the key issues coming into play around the museum of music and sound and the Web.
3. Research questions
My readings on Internet-based exhibitions and museums have fed me with plenty of questions that I would like to account for. These effectively fall into two principal domains of interest. The first domain seeks to answer questions arising out of the utterances of curators and this entails dwelling: on the one hand, on which specific sound objects to select and exhibit. In fact, for museums of music, technology has opened up establishing huge databases with the Internet serving to ensure access to these databases. How then should museums help online visitors wade through such an overwhelming amount of data? When imagining a museum sound archive, only a small percentage of sound objects immediately prove compelling or engaging, with most only gaining depth when placed within a larger story: but which story to tell?
On the other hand, how best to take advantage of the particular sources the Web, as an interface, provides curators in terms of creation, reception, and participation? Indeed, digital technologies have opened up a significant upwards trajectory that achieves a perfect fit with another of the goals of contemporary museum studies: bringing about meaningful engagement and interaction with museumgoers. More specifically, digital technology has come to enable Web museumgoers to perform curating utterances, which result in as many artworks as the numbers of people engaging with them. In other words, together with music and/or sound, the Web becomes material with which to build works or knowledge leading to these “born digital” works (Barber, 2013, p. 1). Following this path, outcomes may become temporary rather than stable, and this points towards the process taking on greater importance than the result. Annet Dekker (2015), who insightfully develops this process by advocating for the museum to become not only a place of exhibition but, notably, a place of production, calls this “curation in progress.”
The second domain of interest interlinks with the first and approaches visitor experiences while visiting Web music and sound museums and exhibitions, namely exploring the ideas, practices, and meaning visitors articulate during their visit. Drawing on Dewey (1938), I believe examining experiences is key to ascertaining issues of meaning and social significance.
Recent learning theories clearly assert the understanding that visitors construct meaning while interacting and experiencing (Falk, 2009; Falk & Storksdieck, 2005; Falk, Dierking, & Adams, 2011; Soren, 2009), and this highlights the interest in answering questions such as: Does delivering sound and music in a Web exhibition provide additional layering of engagement, interaction, and accessibility? Does a Web music museum elicit a more focused listening as desired by contemporary music studies and sound studies?
The later above-mentioned interrogations led to a real interest in expanding upon visitor experiences with Web museums on sound and music, especially through examining the forms of subjectivity the listening experience affords. In terms of that recently studied regarding experiencing music and sound, I found extensive research on listening deriving from the anthropological, sociological, and phenomenological perspectives.
In her article Listening, Mediation, Event: Anthropological and Sociological Perspectives, Born (2010) insightfully distinguishes between three scopes of approaches: the first problematizing the boundaries of musical experience, and more specifically that which can be considered as musical experience and what lies beyond that; the second, departing from the assumption that musical experience is not literal but rather contains embedded layers of influence within, seeks to “chart another dimension of the inescapable social character of what may appear to be the individual, introspective and affective modes” (Born, 2010, p. 83); and a third scope asking about the implications of the recording, electronic and digital music technologies on musical experiences.
Nevertheless, and despite the genuine relevance of all of these outcomes to my study, I have found little research upon the specific practices of visitor experiences with sound and music in museums, proffered by neither music studies nor museum studies. As regards visitor experiences with Internet-based exhibitions focusing on music and sound, this proves virtually nonexistent. As such, I decided to conduct a qualitative study to approach answers to my questions. Within this framework, this paper sets out an account of the exploratory study that I made with the aim of opening doors to an empirical understanding as to where to ground and design the aforementioned study.
4. The case study
More precisely, this paper presents and discusses the analytical results of an exploratory case study examining visitor experiences with the Web artwork “Sound Diary” (http://radionouspace.net/index.php/sound-diary/). “Sound Diary” represents an artwork on display as part of John Barber’s larger project of inquiry and practice titled Radio Nouspace. In the words of its author, Radio Nouspace “is a curated exhibition gallery, virtual museum, and interactive installation inspired by the radio medium and its emphasis on sound” (Barber, n.d., a). As specifically regards the “Sound Diary,” its author considers it a sound artwork curating ephemeral sounds that intersect with my life. It is a virtual museum, without place or specific organization, where meaning is made through interaction with the curated sound objects, and by listening. It is one of three artistic projects jury-selected from an open call for inclusion in the unplace networked art: place-between-places exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal, June 1o t0 November 19, 2015, an international project challenging the modes of creation and reception of works of art exhibited in virtual and net-worked exhibition spaces (Barber, n.d., b).
The “Sound Diary” Web page displays a collection of sixty-nine sound objects with durations ranging from thirty seconds to eight minutes, although the majority of the objects last between sixty seconds and ninety seconds. When asked to expand about the Sound Diary purposes, Barber (2015) responded as follows:
My intention with my unplace “Sound Diary” project was to provide visitors a number of sound files with which to interact. Some files were purposefully selected from my previous, and personal, “Sound Diary” project where I tried to collect, and curate, one significant sound each day, during summer 2014. These sounds were meant as a personal commentary/documentary on my day, a sound illustration of what I heard and experienced.
According to Barber (2013), curating proves different to archiving in that archiving is only collecting and preserving, whereas curating can help position the ephemeral aural experiences in relation to changing interpretations fostered by the passage of time. Barber (2013) entitles this re-creation. The reason “Sound Diary” gets allocated to a container called Radio Nouspace stems from Barber considering how radio works for the purpose of interpreting and distributing information to a broad public audience.
The intention involved was that the “Sound Diary” is particularly interactive and thus was developed in such a way that visitors would freely select the sounds they wish to hear—each sound comes presented by a title and a short description of its source—by clicking on the button “add.” This creates a playlist that appears on the left-hand side of the monitor; by clicking on play, visitors hear a sound narrative created out of their own selections. The specific disposition of offering a work of art whose curation remains uncompleted but still in progress lies at the heart of the motives why the Sound Diary was jury selected from an open call for inclusion in the unplace networked art: place-between-places exhibition.
In terms of the exploratory research, a set of ten volunteers was interviewed individually for roughly one hour each. These volunteers were invited to participate in the research through prior contact that I formally established with the company they work for. As it would seem virtually impossible to work with the real museumgoers to a Web-based exhibition, and after several other approaches—setting up a Facebook group to discuss the work and attempting to interview on-site museum visitors in remarkable museums in Lisbon—I found this approach particularly interesting, as it not only opened up the opportunity to select different professional profiles but also provided me with optimal conditions to work with the volunteers and resembling the ambiance of a real visit at home.
The volunteers were exposed to the artwork through a computer with headphones and then invited to freely interact. While listening to the sounds selected, the volunteers were then invited to produce a free personal narrative describing aspects of their individual experience, whether they were descriptive, emotional, affective, memorial, and so forth. In addition, volunteers also answered a survey and, finally, expanded about other aspects of their experience in a recorded interview.
Two analytical instruments stand at the core of this process: analyzing the in-depth interviews and survey answers; and applying certain linguistic tools, in particular discourse analysis and appraisal theory, to examine the personal narratives. Discourse analysis draws on concepts central to Halliday’s systemic functional grammar (Biber & Conrad, 2009; Halliday, 1994; Martin et al., 1997). The appraisal framework is itself an extension of Halliday’s systemic functional grammar and divides into three interacting systems: attitude, engagement, and graduation (Appraisal Website, 2007). Both tools specifically draw upon the usages of language in social contexts in an approach that is clearly distinct from understanding the language process exclusively through the study of its grammar, so as to strive to grasp meanings beyond the actual clause.
As the unit of representation that we deploy to construct our world of experience and understanding is the clause, the analysis focuses on the meaning of each clause. Who are the participants, and what are they engaged in? As units of representation, clauses are built through participants, the actions taken by participants or processes, and the circumstances associated with processes. Participants include both the doers of the process and the receivers of the action. According to Martin et al. (1997) as regards actions, the grammar of experience divides the world into six different spaces—material, mental, relational, verbal, relational, and behavioral—each of which contains its own prototypical social processes realized through verbs and verbal groups. Material processes encapsulates those processes of physical actions in the real world; mental processes encode meanings of feeling and thinking; verbal processes involve saying and indicating; relational processes are those of being; behavioral processes incorporate psychological and physiological behaviors; and existential processes represent experiences by positing that “there is something.”
In terms of representation, three types of participants or four semantic domains emerge as the most frequent participants in the narrative comments of volunteers: the Sound Diary itself; the sound and music heard; the figure of the writer represented by the personal pronoun “I”; and memories. Among those, the writer figure is clearly the most frequent and almost exclusively attributed to mental processes, those represented by verbs of perception, cognition, thought, appreciation, and affection. Memories then prove the most frequently sensed phenomenon.
I felt like closing my eyes.
Original: A mim apeteceu me fechar os olhos.
I mentally recalled images of this event.
Original: Recordei mentalmente as imagens deste acontecimento.
Objects of sound and music and the “Sound Diary” itself rank equally as the second-most mentioned participants and mostly attributed material and relational processes. Material processes, those describing actions, feature in both the semantic domains. Then come the relational processes, in turn, those describing things by establishing relationships between them and other participants and correspondingly attributing them with qualities mainly associated with the semantic domain of sound and music.
As regards appraisal theory, which comprises the tools of analysis for attitude (the attitudinal tool then encompasses the subsystems of affect, judgment, and appreciation), engagement, and graduation, I only discuss here those tools that proved able to produce analytical resonance within the specificity of the corpus of narrative comments gathered.
Affective values establish a strong presence in the texts, mainly through the aforementioned outstanding amount of mental processes conveyed by verbs of feeling and sensing. The judgment sub-system occasionally becomes present to positively evaluate the “Sound Diary” by reference to a set of expectations regarding what a museum might otherwise be.
I find this museum extremely interesting.
Original: Acho este museu interessantíssimo.
Values of appreciation are also recorded, with these focusing on the aesthetically related impact of the sound and music objects. According to each specific sound, its impact takes on both positive and negative connotations.
As regards the modeling of engagement, the literature highlights its ability to analyze the rhetorical resources by which a text is construed not only to represent and express but also to influence, negotiate, and naturalize particular inter-subjective positions (Appraisal Website, 2007). I find that reflecting upon the presence of such a set of rhetorical resources within the free narrative texts written by volunteers seems of particular interest to the subject under study, because I am very keen to consider just how texts in which speakers are construed in individualized terms, rather than as social subjects reflecting social structures and conditions, turn out to be translating immersive and engaged experiences with the sound objects offered by the “Sound Diary” artwork.
As such, the modeling of engagement analysis reports an approach that I perceive as signalizing immersive experiences with the sounds heard, specifically intensive usage of features of intra-vocalization such as: what catches my eye [o que me chama a atenção]; I think there is [creio que há]. Furthermore, and as aforementioned, the meanings at issue are construed in terms of experiential mental processes. While explicitly developing an individual authorial role as sensors in the presence of sound objects, volunteers are ultimately constructing their own subjectivity.
A singular narrative text also displays features of proclamation and, accordingly, the deployment of several verbal processes:
these are the small steps that make humanity [são estes pequenos passos que formam a humanidade]
listen to and feel the sounds [ouve e sente os sons]
Taking into account the realization context of these writings, although these utterances are clearly declarative and report no evidence of the figure of the writer, they signalize the dialogic experience in which the writer was immersed and so developed a declarative subjectivity rather than any rhetorical move designed to uncover an authorial voice.
To sum up, I believe that the discursive analysis of the narratives written by volunteers has proven very insightful to unraveling the experiences and the meanings attributed to sound: the analyses mainly reveal emotional patterns of interpretation alongside specific discursive features of engagement that suggest experiences of immersion. Nevertheless, the extent to which the reported immersion interlinks more with the opportunity to participate in the process of curation or with the experience of listening to sound remains unclear. Although the interviews revealed a great appreciation as regards the opportunity to participate in the selection of sounds, the great pleasure arising out of the sound experience clearly exceeds this factor alone. In terms of the interface design, comments of appreciation have largely been diverse: on the one hand, the conventional platform style still seemed to play an important role in that it provided volunteers with familiar structures for navigation and interpretation. On the other hand, some other people found it provided a lack of challenge and was somewhat boring.
Interviews and observation of the overall interactions have also enabled other parameters to emerge as domains of influence that thoroughly require taking into account, in particular, listening music habits; Internet habits and routines; the notions held by volunteers about what an exhibition and a museum visit should be; and the conditions surrounding the inquiry.
This paper sets out to discuss the results of the exploratory study I carried out focusing on the experiences of a group of volunteers following engagement with the Web artwork “Sound Diary,” which draws on the exhibition of sound. As the “Sound Diary” experience embodies an interactive process and is designed for visitors to create their own narratives, this led me to examine how the experience process was realised linguistically by closely studying the written discourses that a group of ten volunteers produced while interacting with the artwork.
Discursive analysis of these written texts primarily highlighted the existence of emotional patterns of interpretation: the specific discursive features of engagement indicated experiences of immersion and subjectivity that convey an experience of personal relevance. Nevertheless, the study is exploratory in scope, and I thus have, at this point, no pretence over its conclusions being definitive. Instead, I would rather deploy these findings to build on the parameters that I believe hold major implications for the following analytical step that involves the pursuit of a progressive, emancipatory, and empowering Web-based music or sound museum.
I still advocate for a qualitative approach, given its strength and potential to match the complexity of the phenomena under study. In fact, while not providing representativeness, qualitative analysis has long since proven its ability to test how a conceptual model of the phenomena studied works dynamically. This correspondingly means the research design of any qualitative study is on conceptual grounds instead of on representative grounds (Miles et al., 2014 , p. 34). As regards the phenomena presently under study—as it is particularly difficult, where not impossible, to directly gather representative data from the actual visitors of Web museums—a qualitative approach would seem the most suitable. Furthermore, the exploratory study has simultaneously elicited several parameters of inquiry that seem to come from different directions, which can only ever be tackled by qualitative tools. All things considered, I draw upon the specific conclusions of this exploratory study to define the parameters for further inquiry.
I believe the analysis of the exploratory examples discussed along this paper demonstrate how discourse analysis provides matching tools for searching out and unpacking the parameters in place for these kinds of experiences. As regards defining the samples of people to work with that connect directly to my research questions and the several contextual parameters or influences that must be taken into account in the form of groups of inquiry, I shall take the following into consideration: the hearing music habits (music lovers versus people who do not listen to music by choice); the Internet utilisation habits (people used to the Internet versus people who are not); the notions and conventions called upon by volunteers regarding what a museum exhibition and visit should constitute so that the influence of assumptions that have otherwise remained implicit and uncritically accepted may be identified, considered, and discussed; the conventions volunteers call upon when requested to act interpretively as regards the specific experience; and the interface design. I believe observations across these several fronts may establish the limits of my own conclusions in addition to the point of greatest variation (Miles et al. (2014 ). The aim is also that these then enable cross-case comparisons and expanding on the reciprocal interrelationships between the several different streams. Comparison with other case studies also represents another necessary step given how framing the experience of a text in relation to experiences of other texts reveals the limits to the validity of the analysis of each experience.
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