Research Question 3: Key Trends

What trends do you expect will have a significant impact on the ways in which museums use technologies in the service of mission-mandated goals related to education and interpretation?

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

As you review what others have written, please add your thoughts and comments as well.

Please "sign" each of your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Jul 19, 2011

Compose your entries like this:
  • Trend Name. Add your ideas here, with few sentences of description including full URLs for references (e.g. And do not forget to sign your contribution with 4 ~ (tilde) characters!

  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators.Access to educational materials of all kinds has never been so easy or so open as it is today, and this trend is only increasing. The model of the museum curator or museum educator who stands in front of an object and interprets meaning for a passive audience is simply no longer realistic in this world of instant access. Museum professionals must respond by changing their roles to reflect the new need to guide and coach visitors in finding, interpreting, and making their own connections with collections and ideas. Museums are also more willing now to see themselves as learners, taking advantage of user-generated content to enhance the overall understanding of collections. [Carried forward from the NMC Horizon Report: 2011 Museum Edition] - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012 : Still true.- len.steinbach len.steinbach Oct 14, 2012 Carried forward or not I do not believe this belongs here: "The model of the museum curator or museum educator who stands in front of an object and interprets meaning for a passive audience is simply no longer realistic in this world of instant access." For those who appreciate it, there is nothing that truly replaces the intimacy, social aspect, and engagement of an good educator and the small audience, and therefore this assertion is a bit of a distraction. That said, resources being what they are and the skill needed to conduct personal tours effectively it may be becoming increasingly less feasible, but, on the other hand , docents/educators are finding that ipads and other devices to bring to their conversations the instant access to information and media that the assertion seems to suggest this model lack (and this is recognized in another trend below). Granted that educator led tours may not address those whose learning preferences are better met (so they think :) ) by self-driven technological facilitation.- rstriojr rstriojr Oct 15, 2012 great points Len, the push back I always get is that 'museums can be the last bastion of technology-free' learning. I struggle to show where it is appropriate and how it will facilitate or improve learning.
  • As devices become much smaller and lighter, are wearable or implanted, and require low energy levels to operate, human beings are becoming mobile computing platforms.The personal cyber-environment is a growing trend that currently is expressed by the fact that many people carry with them a variety of devices that allow them mobile access to information, entertainment, and social interaction. These devices are already beginning to coalesce into combined multipurpose systems that provide the range of capabilities that current smart phones, laptops, iPods, and tablet devices do, and more. As the devices become much smaller and lighter, are wearable or implanted, and require low energy levels to operate, human beings will become mobile computing platforms that services such as augmented reality, gesture-based interactivity, location-based services, and many others will provision. [Carried forward from the 2011 Short List] - Sam Sam Oct 15, 2012 - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Oct 16, 2012
  • Collection-related rich media are becoming increasingly valuable assets in digital interpretation. Museums are beginning to see the value in developing formal strategies for capturing high-quality media documentation at every opportunity. Curators and content specialists are working more closely than ever with educators and technologists to embrace the opportunities provided by using digital resources to enhance multimodal learning both online and in the galleries. Video, audio, and animations are no longer seen as afterthoughts in interpretation but increasingly as necessary components of an interpretive plan. This trend is beneficial to museum professionals and visitors alike as it encourages a deeper understanding of objects, ideas, and audiences. [Carried forward from the NMC Horizon Report: 2011 Museum Edition] - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012 : Still true. In many cases, digital documentation of an objects creation, discovery, restoration, etc., can add tremendous value to the original object itself. I firmly believe that "Multimedia Provenance" will soon be considered a core part of cataloging of equal or greater value than today's text and sometimes image-based records.- scott.sayre scott.sayre Oct 15, 2012
  • Consumer technology is increasingly being used in museums. Many of the available devices and tools are simply better, cheaper, and more reliable than the custom-built jobs of the past. Think of the gradual phasing-out of dedicated multimedia tour devices in favor of iPods, or the use of Skype and Google Hangouts instead of the cumbersome dedicated "distance learning" equipment of the past. - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012 : Yes, BYOD is truer than ever. - - sheila.carey sheila.carey Oct 13, 2012 Yes, very true. It's a trend that is only going to increase with more and more people having their own smartphones or tablets. Agree - Sam Sam Oct 15, 2012 Yes - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Oct 16, 2012
  • Cross-institution collaboration is growing as an important way to share resources. Museums are increasingly aware of the ways in which content including, but not limited to, unmediated collections data, may be seen and used in the broader networked environment. The days of gigantic, multi-year, foundation-funded collaborative projects are probably on the wane. Increasingly, multi-institutional collaboration will probably occur at the data level with institutions being collaborative partners only in a passive sense, and the real work of pulling multiple resources together being accomplished downstream, possibly by third-party organizations. [Carried forward from the 2011 Short List] - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012 - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Oct 16, 2012
  • Digitization and cataloguing projects continue to require a significant share of museum resources.Museums are distinguished by the content they keep and interpret. There is an increasing understanding among museum professionals that visitors expect to be able to readily access accurate and interesting information and high-quality media. This requires museums to plan strategically for the digitization and cataloging of collections. These projects frequently require sacrifices in terms of scarce resources (money, personnel, and time) in order to meet long-term goals. [Carried forward from the NMC Horizon Report: 2011 Museum Edition] - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012 : Still and probably eternally true, as collections and their contexts of representation, description, interpretation, and use remain living/growing things. - - sheila.carey sheila.carey Oct 13, 2012 Yes, still true, but we need the digital information in order to create the digital resources that we want to create for visits online and on devices. - elka.weinstein elka.weinstein Oct 14, 2012 Absolutely true for community museums in Ontario - digitization projects are still the biggest category of projects that we are asked to fund.
  • Expectations for civic and social engagement are profoundly changing museums' scope, reach, and relationships.More and more, museums are integrating emerging technologies and approaches such as social media, open content, and crowd sourcing as a means of engaging their communities both internally and externally on a deeper level. Embracing these innovations means that museums are providing patrons with more immersive opportunities to become part of the art. Increasingly, people who are unable to make a physical trip to a museum are able to access its collections and respond and contribute meaningfully to conversations about what may be happening in the physical space, redefining what it means to be a museum patron.
    [Carried forward from the NMC Horizon Report: 2011 Museum Edition] - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012- len.steinbach len.steinbach Oct 14, 2012 Civic and social engagement often get blurred, and the suggestion that immersive opportunities allow visitor to become part of the art seems to minimize the role of science centers, zoos/aquaria, and natural history museums whose civic and social engagment may be even more pronounced. Whether it is a science museum whose climate exhibit culminates in a poll as whether the govt should take a more active climate change role, the Guggenheim partnering with BMW to send their (very tech-laden) labs to "exploreissues of contemporary urban life", the Smithsonians "Human Origins" installation demanding engagement by religious leaders on a civil discussion of religion and evolution, the Intl Museum of Women gathering womens' stories of empowerment on the web, or Civil Rights, Holocaust and other museums whose themes are most explicitly civic oriented, I think this area, which was accelerated by AAM's "Mastering Civic Engagement" book 10 years ago (no mention of tech to which I published an article in Museum) deserves special attention within the confines of this topic. - ssbautista ssbautista Oct 14, 2012 I agree with Len. This is a huge topic that is getting even more important as foundations, government agencies, and think tanks pour resources into it. There are also many levels of engagement that need to be explored, from mere interaction and conversation to a deeper participation. And then there's the discussion of the social relevancy of museums in general, with regards to content, programming, and partnerships.
  • Increasingly, visitors and staff expect a seamless experience across devices.Whether viewing objects in gallery spaces, ordering tickets, interacting with the online store, or simply browsing the museum’s website, visitors expect museums to provide a wide range of digital resources and content, and want the experience of interacting with that content to be consistent across their devices. Virtual visitors in particular expect to be able to perform typical tasks online quickly and easily irrespective of the device they may have at hand — but this is especially true of visitors to the physical space as well, where it is common to see people interacting with their smartphones as they decide which part of the gallery to visit next. [Carried forward from the NMC Horizon Report: 2011 Museum Edition] - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012 : More true than ever. - - sheila.carey sheila.carey Oct 13, 2012 Absolutely.- len.steinbach len.steinbach Oct 14, 2012 I dont think this is particularly special about museums .. rather it reflects what is expected and often delivered across the general commercial spectrum that envelopes our lives. I think this trend, the expectation to be connected (below) and the ability to use one's own consumer devices (above) should be folded together into the challenge to make museum technology seamless with the way people are generally experience or demanding to experience technology in the way they experience their lives. As a minimum standard. Of course when museums use technology in unique experiential ways, that likely is raising the bar for the expectations about others. - ssbautista ssbautista Oct 14, 2012 Another challenge is when museums have a robust online presence and a more traditional physical presence, mostly with art museums where the technology must be unobtrusive. - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Oct 16, 2012 agree this is true in and beyond museums, visitor/device interaction in a museum won't necessarily be limited to activity related to their museum visit but will include activity directly related to the museum, the expectation is to be able to move between direct engagement and diversion as people choose.
  • Increasingly, we expect to be connected wherever we go. Wireless network access, mobile networks, and personal portable networks have made it easy to remain connected almost anywhere. We are increasingly impatient of places where it is not possible, or where it is prohibitively expensive, to be connected, such as airplanes in flight and countries outside our own mobile networks. The places where we cannot connect are shrinking — some flights provide wireless access, for instance — and our expectations of immediate access to our personal information, multi-level communication, and interaction with the world are more frequently met. [Carried forward from the 2011 Short List] - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Oct 16, 2012
  • Momentum is building for linked data/semantic web and open data. Many museum professionals, albeit primarily those in information technology departments, are beginning to understand that there is a role for museums in helping to make sense of the vast amount of data available to us all. Museums have ever been places of ideas, but until recently the use-cases and examples for what can be done with linked data have been limited. Momentum will increase as more in the field, particularly those involved in content creation and interpretation, have a better understanding of the opportunities offered by the semantic web. Perhaps of more importance than museum data is the matrix of contextual data in which it sits and which can then inspire museum professionals, educators, and visitors alike to think of new things to do with cultural heritage information. [Carried forward from the 2010 Short List] - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012 : Could be good to surface this one in this year's report, as momentum continues to build in this area. - - sheila.carey sheila.carey Oct 13, 2012 Again, increasing data means we need a way to make sense of it. - ssbautista ssbautista Oct 14, 2012 - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Oct 16, 2012
  • More and more, people expect to be able to work, learn, study, and connect with their social networks wherever and whenever they want to. We are not tied to desks anymore when we wish to use computers. Workers increasingly expect to be able to work from home or from the road, and most everyone expects to be able to get information, addresses, directions, reviews, and answers whenever they want, this is a key trend for both museum professionals and museum visitors. Mobile access to information is changing the way we plan everything from outings to errands. A corollary of this trend is the expectation that people will be available and online, anywhere and anytime. [Carried forward from the 2011 Short List] - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012 : This seems to be a subset of the "connected wherever we go" trend; and in a museum context, both may go to matters of general wireless infrastructure already implicit in more domain-focused trends. - ssbautista ssbautista Oct 14, 2012 agree related to the other points - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Oct 16, 2012
  • There is a growing chorus of voices advocating a more active role for visitors in shaping what museums do.As people become accustomed to tools that allow them to do things that previously required a great deal of expertise (i.e., video editing, or publishing to the web), they begin to appreciate the creative skills involved in actually producing science or art or the like. “Makers” are an emerging category of museum visitors, especially for science museums, who want to not only appreciate what they see in technical, historical or other contexts, but to also understand how it was created. "Maker” experiences, which engage visitors of all ages in individual and collective experiences of tinkering, making, and discovery are a growing trend, and there is a role for all categories of museums in supporting and encouraging such experiences. [Carried forward from the NMC Horizon Report: 2011 Museum Edition] - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012 : Yes, excellent for engagement; and it's interesting to wonder how we can foster maker experiences for people who aren't physically on museum premises, too. - don.undeen don.undeen Oct 12, 2012The Low-cost 3D scanning and printing work coming out of the Maker community indicates potential for this trend in Art museums as well. "MakerSpaces" are workshops set up to provide access to tools and training for these kinds of activities. Makerspaces are popping up all over, and partnerships between museums and makerspaces could be an important trend. - ssbautista ssbautista Oct 14, 2012 As visitors start participating more in museums, not just making things but actually taking part in curating, tagging, commenting, etc., we need to ask, how do these instances of participation affect the museum's authority, expertise, and hierarchy? I would suggest that there is no real change from the part of the museum staff, but that there might be a perceived change from the part of the visitor. - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Oct 16, 2012 Active maker audiences (and makers who aren't museum audiences) have strong motivations and many skills, would be good for museums to try to harness this and create involvement that isn't just as a 'provider' of experiences and positively supporting its development.
  • Convergence of Trends. Many of the trends and technologies listed separately are interdependant, and I think this 'convergence' is only going to continue and increase. Museums need to use resources to digitize and catalogue - driven by visitors' needs to find out 'more'. People having devices with them at all times, including when they are in a museum, is probably feeding the need to 'know more' and increasing the appetite for more information all the time. In terms of technology (I know we're talking about trends here, but I think it's a trend), many of the technologies intersect - mobile devices, tablets, augmented reality, location based services. As more and more of the content we interact with is in digital form, I see the technology topics having greater and greater overlap. - sheila.carey sheila.carey Oct 13, 2012 Totallly agree, thank you for pinpointing this trend, I think it will become more and more obvious that people want to be able to interact with things in the museum, and then later perhaps go back to their experiences virtually. - elka.weinstein elka.weinstein Oct 14, 2012 - nhoneysett nhoneysett Oct 14, 2012 Couldn't agree more. - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Oct 16, 2012 - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 16, 2012
  • New Screens. As devices get smaller, so do screens. At the same time, screens become so big that they become invisible, as everything potentially becomes a screen: floor, wall, ceiling, building facade, billboard. Digital screens have become interactive, placed in airports, retail stores, and at bus stops. As museums become more accustomed to using digital screens for informational purposes, how does this new trend affect what visitors expect? What about the way in which video or computer/net art is displayed using screens in art museums? Can the same screens be used for a variety of content? Does the physical context of the screen make a difference? What about the traditional kiosk with the computer screen, is that now obsolete or do visitors still relate to it? - ssbautista ssbautista Oct 14, 2012
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) This idealized trend for many museums is quickly becoming a reality not just for visitors, but for staff as well. If embraced, this trend can push museums to adopt more open standards and shared services to more efficiently serve a wide range of users while also providing better options for archiving and maintaining museum generated resources. BYOD also creates new challenges for museum marketing, education and other front-line services needing to encourage BYOD museum habits and promote the wealth of digital resources available inside and outside of the museum walls.- scott.sayre scott.sayre Oct 15, 2012 - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Oct 16, 2012Visitors will always feel more comfortable with the navigation and design of their own device opposed to one that is a rental, comfort is an important indicator of how effective the experience can be. - rstriojr rstriojr Oct 16, 2012