Why use Cilogi

Free to create, free to publish


Earn in­come from an em­bed­ded shop. more...

Open Source, Open Data

Cilogi is an open platform. The data formats are publicly available, as is the code to create guides. It is, in our view, essential to have an open platform that we can build on together.

Data is stored in text files, using open formats which include HTML, JSON and Markdown. Your data belongs to you, and is future-proof -- no proprietary databases unreadable in 20 years.

Guides are a form of structured Wiki. You create a guide using the online interface, or by editing files on a laptop or tablet and sharing them using Dropbox or Git. Git is the platform of choice if you wish to include Cilogi guides in your own software development process.

A difference between Cilogi guides and Wikipedia is that the traditional Wiki works on a per page basis, compiling from Wiki-markup to HTML. We work on per guide basis, building an entire guide in a single compilation step. This is needed to support Cilogi's navigation features -- the automatic linking of maps, the creation of lists and tours -- without explicit coding by authors. We require a compilation step which wires navigation into static web pages with JavaScript support as we can't rely on a server being present and storing the navigation structure. Cilogi guides are designed to work when offline, which is essential if areas of your space do not receive WiFi or 3G/4G signals. When the guide is offline it can't rely on data from a server.

Our development support structures can be simpler than Wikipedia since rather than support software development processes, discussions, bug-lists, versioning etc. internally as Wikipedia does Cilogi sub-contracts software development processes by use of Git, local files and standard development tools.

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Physical Web

Each object in a guide can have a web address and a numeric id. An object's address lets visitors link directly to the object from short URL, QR code, numeric id or, in future, wireless beacons. The ability of visitors to link directly to information about each object instantly, and without the need to pre-install software, is a key feature of Cilogi's guides.

Instant access to exhibits via their addresses requires physical signs containing the addresses, or wireless hardware when beacons are used. Whether signs are printed or wireless there are limits to their number and location. Wireless beacons can be placed only every few meters, QR codes have to be close enough and large enough to be imaged, and short URLs and integer codes have to be readable. Its not possible for physical or wireless signs to cover every object in a collection, especially with crowded display cases or plant beds. We provide several solutions to the problem of determining an object's address when it cannot be labelled directly.

  • A label for the entire room, case, or bed which can link to the individual items it contains from an automatically generated list or an image map.
  • Labels for some items which contain link to lists of other, local, items. List generation and linking is done automatically by use of meta-data tags.
  • Use of image maps which are images containing markers located on the images if items in the case or bed in question. Visitors can identify an object visually and select a marker to get information the selected object.
. Its not possible to provide a physical sign for each exhibit. The principle we follow is to use a limited number of signs and to, automatically, provide navigation tools which make access to any object possible, if the curators so desire.

The data for each object is re-usable and can be shared. The format is open so documents can be created, wholly or partially, from existing databases as required. Typically, since databases are and were not constructed with visitor-facing information in mind, the information available from databases can only partial in the context of a visitor-facing guide.

Example Page

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Since every item has its own address, the simplest way to share data is via the address (a URL). Used in this way your guide functions in much the same way as a set of Wikipedia pages might.

Just as Wikipedia allows its raw data to be shared so we provide you the means to share the raw JSON data in your guide with others.

You can also share data more directly by allowing pages from your guide to be included in others' tours. If you give permission anyone can include your pages in tours they create, using their own introductory material. As we see in the Shop Section you retain income from anything sold from pages you share.

You can, of course, include shared pages from other guides in your tours. This lets you split a large site into multiple guides, with tours working between guides.

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An advantage of a mobile guide over a paper guide is that the mobile guide can tell you exactly how visitors use the guide. By default we provide an interface to Google Analytics -- you need to set up your own account.

Signals, either WiFi or 3G/4G can be patchy inside large and old buildings so our guides work when offline (once they have been access when there is a network connection). When a visitor's phone is off-network analytics events are stored and forwarded when contact is restored. This makes for more reliable statistics. Offline-capable guides are more responsive in all circumstances since data is stored locally. Unlike mobile apps data download is transparent and not seen by visitors.

Special analytics events are registered so that you can distinguish between the initial load of a guide via QR code, short URL or from another website. You can also note how often pages are loaded via keypad.

You receive analytics events from pages which are shared on others' tours from which you can evaluate the popularity of your data.

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Cilogi gives you the option of including an embedded shop in your guide. You can associate a item for sale with each page, and users see a shopping cart on items where something can be purchased.

If someone includes one of your pages in a tour they create you can sell any item associated with that page in the normal way, so that you can profit from sharing your data.

The default shop is provided by Amazon. You need to supply stock to Amazon via the Fulfilment by Amazon service.

Populating your shop, with items to sell is straightforward. You supply the Amazon ID for an item, we download the information (images, text, price) for the item, and you can edit the descriptive text with information specific to the object your visitors are exploring.

Example shop

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