Sotto voce: Facilitating social learning in a historic house

Margaret H. Szymanski, Paul M. Aoki, Rebecca E. Grinter, Amy Hurst, James D. Thornton, Allison Woodruff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines visitors' use of two different electronic guidebook prototypes, the second an iteration of the first, that were developed to support social interaction between companions as they tour a historic house. Three studies were conducted in which paired visitors' social interactions were video- and audio-recorded for analysis. Using conversation analysis, the data from the use of prototype 1 and prototype 2 were compared. It was found that audio delivery methods were consequential to the ways in which visitors structurally organized their social activity. Further, the availability of structural opportunities for social interaction between visitors has implications for the ways in which the learning process occurs in museum settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-34
Number of pages30
JournalComputer Supported Cooperative Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Conversation analysis
  • Electronic guidebook
  • Historic house
  • Informal learning
  • Museum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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