Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



An established body of work in CSCW and related communities studies social and cooperative interaction in museums and cultural heritage sites. A separate and growing body of research in these same communities is developing ways to understand the design and use of social media from a curating perspective. A curating perspective focuses on how social media is designed and used by people to develop and manage their own digital archives. This paper uses a cultural heritage museum as the empirical basis and setting along with new information visualization methods we have developed to better integrate these bodies of work and introduce the concept of personal curation; a socio-technical practice in which people collect, edit, and share information using personal information devices and social media as they move through physical environments rich with meaning potential. In doing so this paper makes three contributions. First, it illustrates how to combine a spatial focus on people’s movement and interaction through the physical environment with an analysis of social media use in order to gain a deeper understanding of practices such as personal curation. Second, it shows in greater detail how visitors to museums and cultural heritage sites use and link digital information with physical information to shape others’ understandings of cultural heritage. Third, it suggests how museums and cultural heritage sites may leverage personal curation to support more expansive learning opportunities for visitors.


Originally published:

Ben Rydal Shapiro and Rogers Hall. 2018. Personal Curation in a Museum. In Proceedings of the ACM on Human- Computer Interaction, Vol. 2, CSCW, Article 158 (November 2018). ACM, New York, NY. 22 pages.