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Playing with the Past

by Erik Champion

How can we increase awareness and understanding of other cultures using interactive digital visualizations of past civilizations? In order to answer the above question, this book first examines the needs and requirements of virtual travelers and virtual tourists. Is there a market for virtual travel? Erik Champion examines the overall success of current virtual environments, especially the phenomenon of computer gaming. Why are computer games and simulations so much more successful than other types of virtual environments? Arguments that virtual environments are impeded by technological constraints or by a paucity of evaluation studies can only be partially correct, for computer games and simulations are also virtual environments. Many of the underlying issues are caused by a lack of engagement with the philosophical underpinnings of culture, presence and inhabitation, and there are few exemplars that engage the public with history and heritage using interactive media in a meaningful and relevant manner. The intention of Playing With the Past is to help designers and critics understand the issues involved in creating virtual environments that promote and disseminate historical learning and cultural heritage through a close study of the interactive design principles at work behind both real and virtual places. Topics discussed include the design of virtual environments, and especially virtual heritage environments, virtual place-making, cultural presence, the pros and cons of game-style interaction, augmented reality projects, and appropriate evaluation methods. Virtual heritage environments discussed in the book include projects from Antarctica, Australia, Mexico, Malta, Egypt, Babylon, the Netherlands, Cambodia, and India.

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Select your format based upon: 1) how you want to read your book, and 2) compatibility with your reading tool. To learn more about using Bookshare with your device, visit the "Using Bookshare" page in the Help Center.

Here is an overview of the specialized formats that Bookshare offers its members with links that go to the Help Center for more information.

  • Bookshare Web Reader - a customized reading tool for Bookshare members offering all the features of DAISY with a single click of the "Read Now" link.
  • DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) - a digital book file format. DAISY books from Bookshare are DAISY 3.0 text files that work with just about every type of access technology that reads text. Books that contain images will have the download option of ‘DAISY Text with Images’.
  • BRF (Braille Refreshable Format) - digital Braille for use with refreshable Braille devices and Braille embossers.
  • MP3 (Mpeg audio layer 3) - Provides audio only with no text. These books are created with a text-to-speech engine and spoken by Kendra, a high quality synthetic voice from Ivona. Any device that supports MP3 playback is compatible.
  • DAISY Audio - Similar to the Daisy 3.0 option above; however, this option uses MP3 files created with our text-to-speech engine that utilizes Ivona's Kendra voice. This format will work with Daisy Audio compatible players such as Victor Reader Stream and Read2Go.