Until recently, the interest in internet has mainly evolved around its technical development and efficiency of operation. Now it is time to examine synthetically the problems and the possibilities of its function in sociological, ethical and esthetic contexts.
In the domain of art, through internet one can gain access easily to the works of art which are in the museum located far from spectators and receive various information and documents. For the experience of art works, the quality of 'presence' is very important and essential. However, the experience of viewing images through media is not concerned with ontological reality, but in a sort of programmed model and 'simulacrum'. The m血 purpose of this paper is to examine problems and possibilities of experiencing art works presented by museums and galleries through internet. We present an analysis of the composition, images, and texts of homepages of the museum web sites of "Arts: Museums and Galleries" collected through Yahoo, one of the major internet search engines. The total number of sites which were analyzed was 287.
First, we applied 5 standards for rating the composition of the homepages, which are the effi ciency of offering information about the museum itself, the information of the exhibition, the information of the collection, the interactive quality between museums and viewers, and the re sources and advertisement about collections and museums. Among museum homepages, only 13% of them got a good review.
Second, we have reviewed the texts with five standards for rating them. We examined both the quality and the q빽 city of texts. About 82.2% of museum homepages don't have sufficient infor mation in their texts. Some of them do not have any text information at all. During our study, we discovered a critical problem involving the predominant use of English in internet. As we are all aware of,English characters can not be written with accents.As a result some artists'names, counrnes, and titles written without proper accents are not recognizable. This problem greatly reduces the efficacy of internet and its ability to convey original information.
Third,we valued images. A considerable number of homepages(92%)which we have investigated, give us only information about a list of art objects without images or fixed images with texts. Several homepages provide moving images like movies, but viewers are not able to control their movement The experience of art by visiting these sites is so simple and insufficient that it cannot be compared with the real one at all. In some sites, the size of images can be enlarged. Other sites make it possible for the viewers to simulate the real experience of art with available control mechanisms, which include control of distJIIlce, direction and speed of viewing. However, a critical shortcoming of all sites we examined is the absence of measurement for distJIIlce and direction. Viewers can control distJIIlce and direction, but they do not know exactly where they are.
Many art musewns use internet to provide the public with their art collections with more vivid images and rich text information. The more advanced technical methods must be developed to increase the proportion of art works to be viewed, the visual quality of image and the amount of text information through internet.
In case of art experience, it should be noted that this experience includes the significance of symbolic interchange. The internet user should not be a passive receiver of information codes, but an active respondent who can exercise his/her unique personality. With this consideration, internet can open a new road to a harmonious and hwnanistic society in which values of art are deeply and widely appreciated. We can also construct a more hwnanistic world,in which people are not isolated, by harmonizing artistic imagination and technolo항cal prowess. The use of internet to help and to educate viewers experiencing art works is one of the most valuable exemples for such an endeavor.