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The conversational role of electronic guidebooks


We describe an electronic guidebook prototype and report on a study of its use in a historic house. Visitors were given a choice of information delivery modes, and generally preferred audio played through speakers. In this delivery mode, visitors assigned the electronic guidebook a conversational role, e.g., it was granted turns in conversation, it introduced topics of conversation and visitors responded to it verbally. Discourse with the electronic guidebook followed the conversational structure of storytelling. Visitors coordinated object choice and physical positioning to ensure that the electronic guidebooks played a role in their conversations. Because the visitors integrated the electronic guidebooks in their existing conversations with their companions, they achieved social interactions with each other that were more fulfilling than those that occur with other presentation methods such as traditional headphone audio tours.


Woodruff, A. ; Szymanski, M. H. ; Aoki, P. M. ; Hurst, A. The conversational role of electronic guidebooks. UBICOMP 2001: Ubiquitous Computing International Conference; 2001 September 30-October 2; Atlanta, GA. Berlin: Springer Verlag; 2001; LNCS 2201: 187-208.