TAP into Museums

TAP is a collection of free and open-source tools which support the creation and delivery of mobile tours.

About TAP What exactly is TAP?

TAP Applications Learn about the pieces of TAP?

IMLS Grant How the IMLS helped launch TAP

Case Studies See TAP in the wild

Get the Code

View the TAP CMS on GitHub IMAmuseum/tap-cms

View the TAP iOS App on GitHub IMAmuseum/tap-ios

View the TAP iPad App on GitHub IMAmuseum/tap-ios

View the TAP Web App on GitHub IMAmuseum/tap-web-app

Mailing List

Sign up for the TourML and Tap mailing list to keep up to date with the recent developments and share your experiences about your own mobile projects.

IMLS Grant

The TourML & TAP: a toolkit supporting museum mobile experiences project seeks to develop tools and a specification for building, sharing and preserving mobile tours that can be used by museums of all types and sizes to create and deploy their own mobile experiences. Led by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the TourML & TAP project continues important work within the community to create mobile standards and open-source tools.

The project’s work, which began in 2009, has been heavily driven by the museum community, and the TourML & TAP grant submission continues that practice by featuring a diverse partnership of leading thinkers about mobile tours in museums. Formal partners of the grant include: the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, Dallas Museum of Art, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Minnesota Historical Society, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and Smithsonian Office of the Chief Information Officer.

A two-year project starting October 1, 2011 and running through September 30, 2013, the TourML & TAP grant will address significant challenges facing many museums who are planning, developing, and using mobile content tours. As highlighted in the 2011 Museum and Mobile Survey, the pace of mobile content development in museums is staggering. This project’s goals are to ensure that the content created for these tours is well-described, sharable, easily-migrated between authoring tools, and supports long-term preservation. Intended audiences for the grant’s work include museums of many sizes and types with staff who posses varying degrees of technical proficiency. Perhaps more important than the tangible products of the grant, this project seeks consensus among museums and the vendor community regarding the nature of mobile tours, and offers a powerful model for how open-source and proprietary systems can co-exist within the museum community. Initial evidence of this community can be seen in the letters of support (for an open-source project) provided by many of the important vendors in the mobile museum space.

Specific work of the grant will focus in three areas.

  1. Completion and ratification of the TourML mobile specification through deep conversation with the museum and vendor communities.
  2. The project will develop software tools geared to spur the adoption of the TourML specification by museums and vendors. These tools will include a validation suite for TourML documents, and a modular toolkit of mobile software which can be used in whole or in part to create and host mobile tours.
  3. Project partners will test and evaluate the tools and specifications in their own museums authoring case study whitepapers that evaluate the suitability of these tools for use in museums.

The success of the project will be seen in at least three specific ways.

  1. The creation and deployment of mobile tours in museums that use the products of the grant, including the TourML specification and/or components of the mobile toolkit.
  2. A productive collaboration between museums and vendors as evidenced by a TourML steering committee with representation from both communities.
  3. The case-study evaluations written by museum partners who have used the tools in practice.