About SI Mobile

What is Mobile?

The power of mobile offers museums new tools and, more importantly, new ways of thinking spaces and experiences. Portable devices first entered the museum field in the form of audio tours. Mobile has been primarily used to provide interpretation and translation ever since, generating an additional layer of information about the objects and enhanced experiences of exhibitions. But today, it offers unprecedented possibilities for engagement and collaboration, permitting new ways of connecting with audiences, communities and partners, as well as increased accessibility and the possibility to “meet audiences where they are.” Mobile technologies make the Smithsonian available any time, anywhere, and make it more personal in unique and powerful ways.
Read more in the SI Mobile Strategic Plan

What is SI Mobile?

SI Mobile is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access. In addition to leading the development of the Smithsonian’s Mobile Strategy, the Head of the Smithsonian’s Mobile Strategy and Initiatives serves as an advisor on mobile policies and projects with the aim of creating network effects and generating economies of scale across the Institution’s mobile projects. The SI Mobile Head also leads the development of central platforms and tools, like the SI Mobile CMS, rest API, data feeds and other open source resources. All mobile apps at SI are published through the SI Mobile team, which, with the support of volunteers, interns and Fellows at the Smithsonian and beyond, also maintain the SI Mobile wiki, the mobile section of the Smithsonian 2.0 blog, and the internal (Sharepoint/Prism) mobile wiki (required SI network login credentials), and offer training sessions for staff in all aspects of mobile from visitor services to responsive design and content development. The (nearly) weekly “Welcome Wednesday” mobile meet-ups are an opportunity for all those at SI and in the area to meet and share their learnings and projects and hear from experts in the field.

What do we do?

By gathering people, knowledge and resources, SI Mobile functions as a convener for conversations and exchanges about mobile media and technology. Bringing together a community of practitioners around mobile projects and policies, SI Mobile has involved hundreds of museum profesionals in developing and reflecting on the possibilities that this technology makes possible. SI Mobile aims to increase awareness of the mobile tools and resources available to its communities at the Smithsonian and beyond, and encourage accessible, cross-platform and sustainable digital projects. We understand mobile and digital tools not as compartmentalized elements, but as a fluid array of resources that connect and operate in synergy to achieve the Institution’s mission.
SI Mobile wants to continue this collaborative work across the Institution and throughout the museum field by broadening the reach of its collective voice.Join us!

How do we do it?

SI Mobile builds on the strong community of practice already engaged at SI and the communications platforms in place, including the (nearly) weekly
“Welcome Wednesday” mobile meet-ups, the SI Mobile wiki, the mobile section of the Smithsonian 2.0 blog, and the internal (Sharepoint/Prism) mobile wiki (required SI network login credentials), and training courses. Many of our talks and best practice sessions are broadcast and recorded on ourSmithsonian Mobile YouTube Channel.

Why do we do it?

SI Mobile was created in 2010 to support the mission and the Strategic Plan of the Institution, as well as the Web and New Media Strategy andDigitization Plan. More recently, SI Mobile has also focussed on achieving the objectives and supporting the Educational and Access priorities of the Institution.

Who can participate?

Everyone is welcome to join the discussion and collaborate with SI Mobile. People interested in media and technology, educators, collection managers, curators, exhibition designers, visitors services specialists, students, scholars, volunteers, or any other mobile amateur.

How can you get involved?

  1. Subscribe to the SI Mobile mailing list to receive updates and information related to our Welcome Wednesday meetings, workshops and events, interesting projects or resources around and beyond SI.
  2. Explore the Smithsonian Mobile offerings and Smithsonian Mobile YouTube Channel.
  3. Keep an eye on and contribute to the Smithsonian 2.0 blog and the SI Mobile wiki.
  4. Come to our “Welcome Wednesday” mobile meet-ups online or in person.
  5. Follow the #SImobile and #mtogo hashtags on Twitter.
  6. Help us test and evaluate our apps.
  7. Become an intern or a volunteer, either virtually or onsite.
  8. Send us your ideas, questions and comments:

Want to know more about mobile technology?

Take a look at the essays and glossary in the //Mobile Apps for Museums: The AAM Guide to Strategy and Planning// 
The Museum Mobile Wiki and this SI Mobile wiki also contain useful resources.
This is a collaborative effort: recommend your mobile resources and guides here!

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