“Baseball Stories” User Generated Content Project

October 1st, 2009 | EVALUATION

This report presents findings from the evaluation of the Baseball Stories user generated content (UGC) project. The Baseball Stories project was created by the Information and Interactive Technology Department to allow people to share stories about their experiences with baseball for display in the Baseball As America traveling exhibition. As a part of the project, a website was created where people could create and post their stories and view other stories, and an exhibition kiosk was created where people could view their or others' stories or send an email to remind themselves to create a story or to join the Museum's E-News list. The evaluation study was conducted from July to October 2008. The evaluation questions guiding the study included the following: What kinds of people post stories to the Baseball As America website? What about the website or exhibition makes people post stories to the Baseball As America website? What kinds of stories do people post to the Baseball As America website? What kinds of people interact with the Baseball Stories kiosk at the Museum of Science? How do people use the Baseball Stories kiosk at the Museum of Science? How can the design of the kiosk and website be changed to improve future implementations of UGC in Museum exhibitions and web-based experiences? In order to answer these questions, data was collected from people who created baseball stories as well as from people who used the kiosk while visiting the Baseball As America exhibition. The 185 people who signed up for the Baseball Stories online community were invited to answer an online survey about their experiences using the website and kiosk. Forty-five people answered the survey (return rate 24.3%). In addition, the content of the stories was categorized by the type of media posted (photograph or video); whether amateur or professional baseball was discussed; whether the story was about the individual who posted it, their friends & family, or a professional athlete; and whether it was a personal anecdote or factual account. In order to better understand the use of the kiosk, visitors 10 years of age and older were observed and surveyed. Forty visitors were observed using the kiosk, and 43 visitors were asked to fill out a survey about it. In addition, 10 visitors were cued to use the kiosk to determine any usability problems. The results of the web survey, story content analysis, kiosk survey, kiosk observations, and kiosk usability study indicate that: Members of the Baseball Stories online community: o Heard about it from the Museum of Science (MOS) website before attending the exhibition. o Were likely to feel comfortable posting data having done so before. o Posted stories because they wanted to involve their family and share their stories and love of baseball. o Found all the baseball stories engaging whether they were a video or photograph. o Wanted to be able to more easily find stories on the website. Baseball Stories kiosk users: o Were not interested in posting a story. o Used the kiosk to watch stories rather than to send an email or add their story to the queue. o Found videos and stories about famous people to be the most engaging. o Felt that there were some usability issues with the kiosk. o Wanted to be able to search for and cue stories. Based on these findings, it is suggested that when creating future UGC projects the Museum should consider the following: Marketing the project through both Museum and external sources. Choosing topics that allow people to express a personal or family connection. Allowing people to post their stories using many different types of media (pictures, text, video, etc.). Allowing people to post stories at the Museum as well as through a website. Allowing visitors to search for stories in various ways and choose which stories to watch. Providing a variety of story types including celebrity stories which may be of more interest to those who do not wish to create their own stories. The appendix of this report includes the surveys, observation protocols, and interview protocols used in the study.



Team Members

Elizabeth Kollmann, Evaluator, Museum of Science
Anna Lindgren-Streicher, Evaluator, Museum of Science


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | Engineering | Physics | Technology
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Formative | Interview Protocol | Observation Protocol | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Survey
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media