System Simulation / Index+ Storyteller
Index+ Storyteller
The 24 Hour Museum has been the leading national public source of information for museums, galleries and cultural heritage-related events since its launch in 1999. It is now approaching its fourth generation, re-branding as Culture24 and providing a host of community building facilities both for its traditional audience of teachers and the general public and its growing community of authors.

24 Hour Museum has always provided support for teaching and learning initially providing access to educational resources organised by reference to the national curriculum. In 2004 the City Heritage Guides project introduced Storymaker, an online authoring tool. Storymaker was used both purely online and as a means for supporting school and community groups directly. An outreach programme provided training and helped local history and other community groups to share their stories. Storymaker provided each group with a private website and allowed them to make their stories available to the 24 Hour Museum editorial team. The 24 Hour Museum City Heritage Guides also provided an online presence for stories to be contributed for each of the cities involved (e.g. Leeds).

The success of Storymaker led System Simulation to productise it as "Storyteller" and offer it more widely. It formed the basis of the Museum of London's Postcodes Project; it has been used by the Museum of Croydon at Croydon Clocktower on their website; and now by one of the Sense of Place South East partners as the "Your Story" feature for Slough History online.

System Simulation has developed the Storyteller technology further for a number of applications where an approach for supporting community shared working that is more formal than a wiki and more accessible than a forum. Current applications include supporting:
  • The CollectionsTrust "Revisiting Collections" programme, whereby visitors to museum websites are invited to add their contributions and participate in the interpretation of the objects on show. The first deployment is at the London Transport Museum.
  • The Subject Specialist Networks programme. In their words: "Subject Specialist Networks are the focus for the expertise and collections knowledge of collections managers, keepers and curators throughout the UK. Supported through Renaissance in the Regions, they are a great way of sharing what you know, answering questions and helping to set the agenda for these vital collections." There are 10 of these community websites operating currently with more being added week by week.
  • The discovery of claims to rights relating to "Orphan Works" held in image libraries round Europe. The site supports an online process for asserting rights and the reconciliation of competing claims.