2010 Horizon.museum Short List

2010 Horizon.museum Report Short List pdf

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

Critical Challenges

Key Trends

Semantic Web

Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years
An increasing number of semantic-aware applications continue to emerge, bringing the web closer to Tim Berners-Lee's vision of a medium that not only allows people to share information, but to make sense of it. Applications for searching and finding, social networking, and focused research are appearing, and a new category of "smart" productivity applications has begun to emerge. These applications use the context of information as well as the content to make determinations about relationships between bits of data; examples like TripIt, SemaPlorer, and Xobni organize information about travel plans, places, or email contacts and display it in convenient formats based on semantic connections.

Semantic searching is being applied for scientific inquiries, allowing researchers to find relevant information without having to deal with apparently similar, but irrelevant, information. For instance, Noesis, a new semantic web search engine developed at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, is designed to filter out search hits that are off-topic. The search engine uses a discipline-specific semantic ontology to match search terms with relevant results, ensuring that a search on "tropical cyclones" will not turn up information on sports teams or roller coasters.
Relevance for Museum Education and Interpretation

  • Museums have vast quantities of information about their collections that visitors want to access, and semantic web applications offer some promise in solving issues related to exploiting this rich knowledge.
  • Museums are a logical place for semantic web related work to occur — their collections are bounded and increasingly being enriched with tags that expand the ways in which objects with in them can be found.
  • Museums have developed systems and ontologies with regard to collections that might be applied universally to objects across museums to accomplish some of the goals of sense-making.


For Further Reading

Tim Berners-Lee on the Next Web
(TED Talks, February 2009.) Sir Tim Berners-Lee discusses the history and future of the web.

Wolfram|Alpha: Not a Google Killer, but Not Meant to Be
(Darin L. Stewart PhD, Connected Science, 18 May 2009.) Wolfram|Alpha uses semantic approaches to assemble answers to questions rather than returning a list of search results or hits.