Accessibility statement

Pat Gibbs

Research project

Digital interpretation in heritage attractions – measuring how far we’ve come

Digital technologies have allowed visitor attractions within the heritage sector to become more flexible and innovative in their interpretation. Greater amounts of information can be incorporated, utilising different media and techniques of presentation that can, unlike traditional interpretation media, facilitate content ‘pathway’ selection and promote the element of choice in how people discover information.  The digital platforms upon which these interactives are built provide opportunities to analyse and deconstruct visitor behaviour in a more quantitative manner than the standard qualitatively-orientated surveys that form the basis of most visitor analysis. These opportunities have, to date, been poorly utilised.

This research aims to take one form of digital interactive media, touchscreens, and utilise bespoke data-logging software to anonymously record usage data such as content selection, pathway routing and dwell-time. By comparing the collected data against recent qualitative visitor survey at a number of case-study sites it is hoped that a clearer picture of digital interpretation usage can be ascertained. This in turn will help content commissioners and designers create better digital interpretation for the future.


Patrick graduated from the University of York with an MSc in Archaeological Information Systems, and has worked as Head of Technical Design at the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture since 2003. He provides design and technical expertise for the creation of C&C's digital resources, including Images of Salvation (2004), Pilgrims and Pilgrimage (2007), The English Parish Church through the Centuries (2010) and English Cathedrals and Monasteries (2013).

Patrick is also involved with the Centre's historic interpretation work, and has created both digital and graphical outputs that are currently installed at Auckland Castle, Carlisle Cathedral, Crowland Abbey, Glastonbury Abbey, Holy Trinity Micklegate in York, the Houses of Parliament, Lichfield Cathedral, Wakefield Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral and Worcester Cathedral.  

His technical specialisms include web design (HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, MySQL), Adobe Flash development (Actionscript 3), 3D visualisation (3DS Max, Marvellous Designer), photography and the design of interfaces for interactive digital products.  He is also Director of heritage sector IT specialists Heritage Technology.

Publications and Awards

Teaching and Impact

Contact details

Pat Gibbs
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor

Tel: (44) 1904 433931
Fax: (44) 1904 433902