Oxfam Shelflife: Making Charity Shops Social Museums via the Internet of Things
Ever wished an object could tell its story? That’s the idea behind Oxfam’s
unique pilot scheme, Oxfam Shelflife. Powered and based on the idea behind Tales of Things, the Oxfam Shelflife app uses QR codes to enable the public to discover the stories behind Oxfam’s donated, ethical
and Unwrapped products, and even share their own stories for the items they
The project is the
latest innovation from Oxfam which promotes sustainability by encouraging
people to look beyond disposable consumerism. The stories behind vintage and
second-hand items are all part of their desirability. At the moment these
stories can be lost when an item is acquired by a new owner but Oxfam Shelflife
enables the stories to stay with the items in a more long-lasting way.
has a story to tell and Oxfam Shelflife enables people to share these stories.
We’ve found that items with an interesting story behind them are instantly more
appealing to our customers so we hope Oxfam Shelflife will encourage people to
love items for longer. This commitment
to sustainability is an important part of what Oxfam shops bring to the high
to ‘tag’ a QR code to their donated object, using the free Oxfam Shelflife app on
their iPhone and share the story behind the item for the next owner to discover. Shoppers who visit the participating
Oxfam stores can then scan the QR code on the item, via the app, which will
take them to the unique story behind the object. Usually QR codes direct users to a website or URL but the Oxfam
Shelflife app enables users to engage and interact with the technology, taking
QR codes on to a new level.
developed by the Tales of Things initiative (TOTeM: Tales of Things and
Electronic Memory), a collaboration between five British universities: University
College London, The University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh College of Art, Brunel
University, the University of Dundee and the University of Salford. The TOTeM
initiative was funded by a £1.4m grant from the Engineering and Physical
Sciences Research Council.
How does it work? Take a look at the Oxfam Shelflife intro:
We will have more on Shelflife in coming days/weeks as well a news on a new ‘Powered by Tales of Things’ site coming soon, created via the new API.
Head over to http://shelflife.oxfam.org.uk/ to view some of the hundreds of objects donated with stories.