Research Question 4: Significant Challenges

What do you see as the key challenges related to education and interpretation that museums will face during the next five years?

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Challenge Name
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Balancing Our Connected and Unconnected Lives
With the abundance of new media content, technologies, and emerging participatory options combined with a long tradition of reflective atmosphere, museums are in a position to lead the way in forging a middle ground between connected and unconnected worlds. With technology now at the center of many daily activities, museum strategies have been adapted to meet visitors where they are — on the Internet by way of their mobile devices. Yet there is the growing concern that museums should maintain an ambiance that lends itself to deep contemplation and reflection on cultural works. Ongoing studies continue to highlight the distractive effects of technology on the human cognitive function; a recent psychological study proved the existence of the “photo-taking impairment effect” among test subjects who remembered objects in less detail because they had captured images of them. As a result, museum leaders are struggling with how to thoughtfully integrate technology to enhance the visitor experience, while allocating time and space for analog activities and reflection. As museum programs continue to align with technology trends, museum educators are challenged to design interpretive experiences that encourage visitors to have profound interactions with collection objects, while making the most out of digital tools.
  • In the short term, museums are re-strategizing how they approach this challenge. It won't take too long for each institution to find what's best for its content and experience. It will require some adaptation of staff, leadership, and planning. I don't think this challenge will last more than 5 years as all of us become more savvy with technology strategy. - ortiz ortiz Feb 16, 2016
  • There has been a debate about the very nature of technology, the extent to which technology impedes social interaction and immersive experience. Part of the learning process is interacting with people and using senses to learn about objects. Museums need to balance the use of technology and human interaction. - luannel luannel Feb 17, 2016- Sam Sam Feb 17, 2016 - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016
  • I can appreciate the problem as perceived through the topic text above. But the selfies-as-memory-impairment argument sounds like a bit of a straw man. There's always been an attempt by museums to strike a balance as they attempt to engage visitors in what the museum thinks is interesting/useful through a mix of experiences that include contemplation and consideration along with more "mediated" or activity-based activities. They traditionally match the experience with the outcome. I'm sure that some technologies and/or the method of their application might have differing effects on learner outcomes, etc. but this is part of the process for developing robust programs and content. Where the museum isn't so much in control of the experience a user has with it's space or content then it seems that it needs to be cognizant of the fact that it has limited control and calibrate its expectations accordingly. - njohnson njohnson Feb 23, 2016
  • I'm in support of this being a key significant challenge, and I especially see it influencing museum interpretation in how we embrace this tension in ways that creates memorable experiences with audiences. If the evolution of attention is changing due to being tethered to technology then how can we apply those principles to how exhibitions and other layers of interpretation are designed--are museums encouraged more than ever to think about how tentacles of experiences bleed outside galleries and in more of an on-demand fashion? - emily_fry emily_fry Feb 26, 2016 - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016
  • It is not the role of the museum to impose upon users' personal decisions to adopt or not-adopt certain technologies or pro-actively restrict users personal liberties. Users' choices not to adopt a technology are their own and do not require additional cost or effort from the organization. Museums must prioritize their activities and expenditures to serve connected audiences whose activity can be iterated, measured and improved upon. The spectrum of metrics that measure these types of interactions may be aligned with evaluation methods from the commercial sector, but also seek to capture humanistic concerns through data. This perspective is understood with contractual and legal obligations in mind as well as safety and security of collections and users. Anti-technology oriented policies with respect to media capture or interaction fail to meet user interaction expectations in a hybrid digital and physical culture and moreover, they undermine opportunities for museums to share collections and programs with audiences at scale. We are in a connected world. Mobile and wearable devices play role here on-site as visually non-interventionist with respect to historical architecture and leverage highly personalized technology platforms. They also serve public in ongoing and daily interactions with the museum outside of it’s building. Balance is the choice of the user and demand necessitates museums shift in approach to serving those users who opt-in to interaction albeit with a range of frequency and through a variety form factors. - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 28, 2016
  • Neal put it well - the selfie-as-memory-impairment is indeed a straw man (and it suggests a nostalgia for a prelapsarian past when we were free from the distractions of technology) The description of this challenge also seems to set up binaries between digital/analog and technologically mediated/ pure and contemplative and these are false dichotomies. The true challenge is for museums to create powerful experiences that are designed to meet the needs of a range of visitors and not be distracted by the latest shiny gadget. Technology is a tool; it can both facilitate and be a barrier to these experiences. - laura laura Feb 29, 2016
  • While I agree with @nealstimler that we should not impose our ideologies pro or con certain uses of technology, and that we should serve connected audiences at scale, I also think we should remember those members of our audiences that actively want to opt out of using/dealing with technology during museum visits (online interaction with museums and collections apart). We must take this seriously as a counter-demand to being connected at all times, and acknowledge that museums can offer ideal spaces for this need - which does not exclude that we serve connected, digitally sharing audiences simultaneously. - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016

Continual Progress in Technology, Workflows, and Infrastructure
In many cases, museums may not have the necessary technical infrastructure in place to realize their vision for digital learning and content production. While it is practically impossible not to recognize the value of digital learning in today’s connected world, the reality for museums is that the vast majority of institutions do not have the necessary technical infrastructure to successfully pursue goals for digital learning, and often have little time to dedicate to articulating, much less realizing their vision. Additionally, Museums too often face additional costs to repurpose information created for museum catalogs or even websites as they try to meet demands of content from the growing array of potential media formats. The challenge for content producers within museums is to revamp production workflows and content licenses so that they simultaneously support any possible use.
  • This is an absolutely critical concept. I've watched every size of museum that attempts to adapt to and adopt technology quickly reach its saturation point in terms of the resources it can levy to manage and sustain. In other words, every single GLAM I've ever interacted with over the last 10 years has reached its technology "carrying capacity". That might be limited to staff email accounts and desktop computers/printers or it might mean a 70-member digital team producing everything from videos to VR. There has been a recent trend towards carefully considered digital strategies intended to understand the institution's tech carrying capacity and measure it against current and future goals and aspirations. This is an improvement over many years of the tradition of taking on new technologies without carefully considering the lifecycle costs of doing so. Within the larger 30K view of "digital strategy" lie the best practices and examples from other institutions (of all sizes) who have figured out methods of efficiently reusing content, improving workflows, adopting more efficient technology platforms, and tools, etc. The community might benefit from a pool of shared resources and wisdom around this topic. - njohnson njohnson Feb 23, 2016
  • Agreed this is critical and should be integrated within existing workflows and/or current methodologies for the formation of project teams should be reconsidered. Increasingly, museums are flattening hierarchies and valuing expertise as a shared practice. In order for this to be effective, embracing digital learning and content production shouldn't be an add-on or isolated expertise, but something that binds departments, fields and expertise together. - emily_fry emily_fry Feb 26, 2016
  • Yes, museums are at a critical point where internal workflows and content production must be re-prioritized to increase productivity and yield better results. This does not mean that museums continue to maintain all traditional tasks and workflows while trying to add more on top with new initiatives. It does mean that museums need to take a hard look at core mission critical tasks that ultimately have among the most significant impacts on education such as cataloging, collection digitization, data and digital assessment management and digital publications. Open access fosters the potential for third party creators to make new content about and with museums across social media and the web. Departments and teams may need to be re-organized, roles and responsibilities re-aligned and cuts required. It is not acceptable anymore for museums to say we just cannot or will not "do digital." If your institution does not "do digital" the legitimacy and value of your institution is seriously in doubt. Furthermore an institution that does not "do digital" does not exist in a connected and data driven world. Examples of institutions where you can find excellence in project management, team building and workflow design include: Brooklyn Museum __; Carnegie Innovation Studio __; Cooper-Hewitt Labs __; Museum of Modern Art Digital Media Department __; and SFMOMA Labs __ - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 28, 2016 +1 - dmitroff dmitroff Feb 28, 2016 +1 - SOberoi SOberoi Feb 29, 2016 +1 - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016
  • I agree. This is an enormous challenge for museums of all sizes but I think it's especially difficult for smaller institutions who have trouble securing funding to create and (even more important) sustain technology infrastructure projects. - laura laura Feb 29, 2016 I agree! - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016

Developing Digital Strategies
The ubiquity of technology use in society has impacted how museums develop strategic plans and digital strategies. Such strategies should include hardware, software, and networks, as well as critical tasks like digitization. More importantly, these plans should help museums expand the meaning of digital to include the adoption of digital values such as agility, flexibility, and usability to keep pace with rapidly evolving societal changes that are increasingly inseparable from technology. Digital strategies are more than the development of a website; they should include the multiple channels of technologies that provide unique opportunities for audience engagement. A museum’s digital presence today includes not only a website, but also a social media presence, mobile tools and apps, electronic fundraising, and much more. Additionally, it is clear that a museum cannot simply plan a web presence in the same manner as a brochure or catalog; they require the development of new workflows and staffing requirements.
  • This is an overarching topic that related to many of the items listed on this page. One "sub-challenge" is the lack of consultants and leadership to focus on this area. Since each museum needs to adopt it's own strategy, each will need more direct input from people with experience in this area. It's also up to leadership at the museum to start seeing the wider culture beyond the walls of the museum. Some of this will change as Baby Boomers age out of leadership roles, and Gen X and Millennials move into positions of influence. - ortiz ortiz Feb 16, 2016
  • No matter if you think a digital strategy should be its own document or it needs to be included with every thing else, it is still something that several museums struggle with. - heathermarie.wells heathermarie.wells Feb 22, 2016
  • There's a need here to keep a perspective on the tricky balance between a museum's own personality which informs its goals and needs and the inherent limits that technology itself and the available resources places on the effort of enacting a digital strategy. I've seen institutions buy into a generic form of digital strategy best practices and buzzwords and lose their soul in the process. The results can be impossible to implement (what results doesn't match staff, board, or visitor expectations) and ineffective. Another important point lurking in the definition above is the change management challenge that comes with even modest shifts in digital technology efforts. Redefining workflows, implementing new systems, and executing new programs often requires more than need to rewrite job descriptions, retrain folks, and sometimes even reorganize the org chart. Such is the nature of technological change! - njohnson njohnson Feb 23, 2016
  • Yes, the field would benefit greatly from having more digital strategies available from institutions of various collection types and sizes. Even better would be to have these published with open access licenses such as Creative Commons. The Andy Warhol Museum, part of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, published its digital strategy on Github __ Watch a talk about the strategy with Jeffrey Inscho, who now leads the Carnegie Innovation Studio, when he was the Manager of Digital Engagement at The Andy Warhol Museum __ John Statck’s digital strategy 2013-2015 from the Tate also greatly influenced the field __ - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 28, 2016 +1 - njohnson njohnson Feb 29, 2016
  • I think this is a significant and notable challenge, and I appreciate the mention of the adoption of "digital values such as agility, flexibility, and usability." This is absolutely true; this is about more than just the latest bells and whistles, but about mindsets and values. I think that for museums to be smart about digital strategy, it is important to not lose sight of the big picture and to keep the end goals in mind when embarking on any new digital initiatives. - dmitroff dmitroff Feb 28, 2016
  • +1 to Dana. Having recently changed institutions, it is clear to me how culture and digital values are the precursors to development relevant digital strategies. Vital in this is integrating digital strategy into multiple departments and multiple levels of the institution.- margaretsternbergh margaretsternbergh Feb 29, 2016
  • Yes - digital strategies are as much about process as they are about specific products or services: how you work, how you decide what opportunities to say yes or no to, how you approach innovation. Digital strategies also need to be about how digital skills are reflected across the organization - in job descriptions, in hiring decisions, in professional development opportunities. - laura laura Feb 29, 2016 +1 - lizneely.mail lizneely.mail Mar 2, 2016

Diminishing Value of Copyright
The challenge of providing the broadest possible access to content, without depriving artists, authors, and other content creators of their intellectual property and income, continues to be one of the largest issues faced by museums today. Creative Commons and other alternative forms of licensing are quickly becoming mainstream; new business models must be developed that take these forms of licensing into account. And to a large extent, these new business models depend on new content development strategies.

  • Is it the "diminishing value of copyright" or the "expanded notion of rights management"? Copyright is still a critical issue for many GLAMs who manage cultural objects subject to 3rd party rights holders and whose content can often be created by or repurposed from 3rd party rights holders. Fair use and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act only go so far protecting museums looking to skirt the copyright issue. And as institutional data, information, and media resources are increasingly mingled with other GLAM data and info and even 3rd party materials, keeping track of it all will be challenging to say the least. Especially when these resources are increasingly distributed beyond the control of the originating institutions. But the open culture movement seems to be gaining steam which is a good thing in that it will help to ensure that GLAMs are explicitly stating open use policies which will increase access and reuse both within and between institutions and out in the world. - njohnson njohnson Feb 23, 2016
  • This section should be rephrased or removed. A succession of industry reports over years and the growing open access movement demonstrate the urgency of moving to this model with vital leaders like Creative Commons. Museum collections and content should not be thought of as “intellectual property” but as a commonwealth of culture that is a shared wellspring of creativity for businesses, scholars and the public. - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 28, 2016 +1 and here's a nice writeup from Tate's director Nicolas Serota to expand on the Commonwealth concept - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016
  • The 'copyright' challenge takes on many forms and cannot be considered as a single entity. First note: remember that different countries have different copyright legislation. In Australia, for example, there is no concept of Fair Use in our legislation which, instead, relies on specific noted exceptions. So issues that might arise in Australian institutions can be quite different from those in US or European institutions. That said, I think we need to draw a clear distinction between:
    • museums assessing and providing open and free access to collections content that is now in the public domain. There are many organisations now who have made huge and public releases of public domain content.
    • museums deciding that they will openly license and provide free access (often using Creative Commons) to legacy content which they hold copyright over. Again, examples of this are growing.
    • the very messy middle of in copyright, third party owned works that are effectively locked away or are released with caveats and take down policies. There is an identifiable time period on this content - from mid 1920's onwards. This is the area of biggest challenge to museums who struggle to make 'old' (e.g. 1940s or 50's) content that is still in copyright publicly accessible and where the threat of litigation is the most immediate.
    • and the new content that museums are making and deliberately making openly licensed right from the start - the effect of the open culture movement. The 'diminishing value of copyright' in the statement above really only applies here so I agree with Neal that this whole section needs rephrasing and the nuance brought out. - ewallis ewallis Feb 28, 2016 Thanks Ely for the specification of the diverse layers of this topic. Very important to break this down into manageable parcels. In Europe too, we have no Fair Use clause. - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016
  • I think this is an extremely interesting topic, and would caution against too much optimism from just looking at the great success that the open GLAM community has had in recent years. I look at this topic similar to the argument that network television will die due to Netflix, online streaming etc -- in other words, can't underestimate entrenched interests to continue to operate under existing business models. Overall copyright protections in the US are more restrictive then they were 50 years, and show no signs of lessening - SOberoi SOberoi Feb 29, 2016soberoi +1 - njohnson njohnson Feb 29, 2016
  • Agree with both Neal's ! Rephrase the challenge as one of expanding views on rights and access. - dianezorich dianezorich Feb 29, 2016
  • This is a very relevant challenge and one that I think will snowball quickly. The CAA recently adapted a code of best practices for Fair Use ( it is what the MFAH used in determining what size images to share on our new collections website. I think as more and more institutions adopt a fair use mindset, copyright and its limitations will become a thing of the past. - margaretsternbergh margaretsternbergh Feb 29, 2016
  • As mentioned elsewhere, Europeana has recently launched a Publishing Framework that encourages cultural heritage institutions to release their data/content as openly as possible using the argument The More You Give The More You Get ( Also relevant here is the attempt from Europeana and its stakeholders to urge the European Commission to enable cultural heritage institutions to activate their collections of in-copyright but out-of-commerce digitised collections, by adjusting the current copyright regime ( - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016

Embracing Change as a Constant
Museums are, in general, conservative institutions and because of this, and a variety of other reasons, they often lag behind commercial entities and educational institutions in the adoption of new technologies. Money and staff resources are always cited as reasons for not participating, yet in general the reluctance has more to do with the fear of change. Adopting technologies may well enable museums to better accomplish their missions and serve their audiences but the community needs to become more flexible in its response to emerging trends.
  • This may be the #1 challenge for many institutions. Change is being forced upon us as visitors decrease; people may say they value museums, but they overall numbers don't point to their participation. This is a topic that is beyond technology. It's how museums adapt to changing circumstances. Leadership and institutional cultural changes will have to happen for museums to embrace this as their day-to-day practice. - ortiz ortiz Feb 16, 2016
  • Many museums engage leadership in deeper inquiry and develop new ideas through the collective brain power of strategic planning. Embracing change at the right time can create a powerful advantage. Understanding the culture of a museum is an important skill to learn to implement change.- luannel luannel Feb 17, 2016
  • Museums need to shift notions from fixity to flux. Stimler. Neal. “Digital trends: From fixity to flux.” J.Boye Aarhus 2014 News. J.Boye 2014, Aarhus, Denmark. August 29, 2014. __ - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 28, 2016
  • I agree that this is a #1 challenge for museums. One strategy for responding to this is something that came up in Research Question 3 under "Rise of Private Companies in Museum Education" -- by partnering with private companies and outside partners, museums can tap into trends happening in other sectors that are on the leading edge of change. - dmitroff dmitroff Feb 28, 2016 +1 - njohnson njohnson Feb 29, 2016
  • Agree - a primary challenge. - dianezorich dianezorich Feb 29, 2016
  • Agree - primary and long term. - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016

Improving Accessibility for Disabled Populations
With more than 50 million Americans with disabilities, museums need to continue to improve the accessibility of facilities, exhibitions, and programs for this important population. In order to reach this audience, museums are investing more thought into the way educational programs and didactic materials are presented. Technology can aid in increasing accessibility by breaking down barriers. Haptic technology, for example, enables blind and partially sighted individuals to touch virtual 3D objects. Additionally, museums can bridge this divide by creating special content for visitors with disabilities who are already bringing advanced technology along with them.

Improving Digital Literacy of Museum Professionals
With the proliferation of the Internet, mobile devices, and other technologies that are now pervasive, the traditional view of the museum professionals as possessing the ability to develop exhibitions and educate patrons has expanded to encompass the understanding of a variety of digital tools. This recent category of competence is affecting how quickly museums evolve and the skills they expect in new hires. Some thought leaders believe there are not enough official best practices guidelines for technology training for current and pre-service museum staff, and the most progressive examples are taking place outside of their education departments. Professional development around how emerging technologies can be leveraged to further museums’ interpretation goals and enhance their visitor experiences is needed at all levels of museum education. This issue is not isolated to museum education departments and is essential to improving technical infrastructure and workflows. Digital literacy needs to be achieved across the board, especially in the context of museum leadership.
  • As museum professionals become more accustomed to technology, this challenges seems to be getting easier to overcome. One cultural change in museums that is slowly being addressed is hiring more people who have leadership experience in these areas. Also, there are more consultants available to help museums strengthen in this area. - ortiz ortiz Feb 19, 2016
  • This has been a pervasive challenge from both a generational and resource availability perspective ever since desktop computers, business software, and early electronic systems like library card catalogs became common in GLAMs. While most of the basic skills are learned by newer generations before they enter the workforce, there is an extended set of technologies that will continue to challenge researchers and educators looking to break new ground in their discovery of the kind of meaning and interpretive content that is their stock and trade. Ever-evolving social media and publication platforms, Information visualization tools, linked data, the ability to work with disparate date/information sets, and more, will challenge GLAM employees of all ages in the next 5 years. - njohnson njohnson Feb 23, 2016
  • Can be folded into above categories Continual Progress in Technology, Workflows, and Infrastructure and Developing Digital Strategies. [[user:nealstimler|1456712918] Good point, but maybe worth keeping as a specific headline on the short-mid term because it's so important that our sector embraces the idea. - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016
  • A great case study of an organisation making a structured effort supoorted by top leadership to improve digital literacy across staff is the National Museum Wales as described in this MW2015 paper - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016

Managing Knowledge Obsolescence
Simply staying organized and current presents a challenge in a world where information, software tools, and devices proliferate at the rate they do today. New developments in technology are exciting and their potential for improving quality of life is enticing, but it can be overwhelming to attempt to keep up with even a few of the many new tools that are released. User-created content is exploding, giving rise to information, ideas, and opinions on all sorts of interesting topics, but following even some of the hundreds of available authorities means sifting through a mountain of information on a weekly or daily basis. There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us.
  • Welcome to the 21st century. This is an area where AI, linked data, and other cutting edge technologies have yet to be operationalized in the context of our day-to-day intersection with the flood of information we're all increasingly facing. And solutions are still more than 5 years in the future, I think. - njohnson njohnson Feb 23, 2016
  • While there is an immense challenge with knowledge obsolescence there is also an alarming challenge to museums with software obsolescence - see for example - Google will be ending its Google Maps Engine product next year and Google will be dropping the signup page of Google Maps Engine shortly. for older versions of Internet Explorer ended on January 12th, 2016, These are immediate and urgent concerns. [[user:shazan|1456561877] * Can be folded into above categories Continual Progress in Technology, Workflows, and Infrastructure and Developing Digital Strategies. - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 28, 2016

Measuring the Impact of New Technologies
Museums are increasingly leveraging emerging technologies such as mobile apps, social media, natural user interfaces, and augmented reality to add interactive elements to their exhibits and collections. With the growing emphasis on the digital realm, some thought leaders fear that use of these tools is superseding the development of sufficient technology evaluation frameworks. While many museums are astute at assessing their traditional programs, they have yet to cultivate standard protocol for measuring the success of the technologies they deploy. Exacerbating this challenge is the notion that evaluation should occur both before and after technologies are implemented; staff must have a thorough understanding of how the tools correspond with the museum’s mission and goals prior to being embraced at scale. Unfortunately, there are not always concrete precedents for the use of new technologies in the cultural heritage sector, and museums that are early adopters often gamble when trying them. The hope is that as museums become more adept at measuring the impact of these technologies and share the results with other institutions, the risk factor will be significantly mitigated.
  • Skunk works projects are important...they're often the leading edge of our understanding of the value of a given technology in a given GLAM context. We need ways to make these efforts and their outcomes visible so that others can build on success, re-test hypothesis, or avoid pitfalls. - njohnson njohnson Feb 23, 2016
  • This challenge is inherently linked to cultural institutions not providing the professional development or hiring of staff with a skill set in evaluating digital tools and technologies--I'm wondering if professional organizations such as Visitors Studies Association will begin to turn their head to this issue and begin offering professional development/publishing case studies widely to benefit the field. Beyond technologies, cultural heritage sites often fall fault to not providing thorough evaluation of the variety of interpretation layers employed--specifically looking at long-term impact and then publishing results widely. Within this concern there needs to be more of an embrace for failing forward--prototyping--iterative design--and taking risks. To me this falls within the constant struggle of making executive leadership teams and audiences okay with being on the fringe and rough around the edges--perfection and 100% success isn't always the best outcome - emily_fry emily_fry Feb 26, 2016
  • Experimentation leads to iteration and improvement. It would be great to see more public analytics dashboards, living annual reports, that demonstrate museum viability to boards and the public. Still important examples in this area Dallas Museum of Art __ and Indianapolis Museum of Art __ dashboards. - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 28, 2016

  • I agree with the commenters above: iterative, experimental approaches are important. But in my experience (as a consultant who is often hired by museums to evaluate the impact of digital programs), museums often don't articulate specific objectives or outcomes (related to mission or visitor needs) for technology projects. This can make measuring impact especially challenging. There is a opportunity, and a need, for digital and education teams to collaborate to define what impact means for digital learning experiences. - laura laura Feb 29, 2016

Prioritizing Cataloging and Digitization Projects
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. However, because these projects frequently require sacrifices in terms of scarce resources (money, personnel, and time) in order to meet long-term goals, they are a challenge to some museums.
  • There needs to be a realistic sense within an institution about the real mandate around cataloging and digitization. Is the mandate "completeness"? Absolute accuracy? I don't think so. Pick your greatest hits to get started digitizing if you can't fund a completist strategy. Work to build highly basic entries for your entire collection in order to, at a minimum, acknowledge to the world that you are responsible for the care and feeding of the object! Regardless of where a GLAM targets these two goals, the effort will likely require outside funding and lots of patience. - njohnson njohnson Feb 23, 2016
  • I support @njohnson ' s comment. Building substantial metadata for a museum collection can be a daunting class not only for support staff, but for even executive leadership teams to conceive. The goal becomes increasingly distant when an institution is actively acquiring. Art museums especially need staff and an achievable framework to work towards specific benchmarks, such as focusing on a specific aspect of the collection, recent gifts, or highlight objects. Many of these decisions can be shaped by publishing (print and digital) and overall institutional priorities. Just as more and more museums are sharing content experts/curators across institutions for specific projects, could the same be done for prioritizing cataloging and digitization projects--can partner museums share staff and even resources to achieve similar goals? - emily_fry emily_fry Feb 26, 2016
  • Mission critical and among the highest priorities. Museums need more detailed and nuanced data to serve to developers and scholars. More resources are needed in this area from museum administrations. There are potentials for crowdsoucring as well. Data and digital assets are essential raw materials for museums in a connected world of info-aesthetics __ and museum informatics __ - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 28, 2016 +1 - SOberoi SOberoi Feb 29, 2016soberoi +1 - njohnson njohnson Feb 29, 2016
  • As we track our users online we see a clear shift of interest from our 'collections' - the atomized, individual object to the 'exhibitions pages'. This kinds of suggests that our visitors prefer cooked meals over raw ingredients and we have had to come up with a strategy to meet this demand. All of the exhibitions since 190 are now listed with links to about one third of them to the full exhibition mini-site. Exhibitions are the 'new collections' it seems. - shazan shazan Feb 29, 2016
  • I acknowledge the comments from @njohnson and @emily_fry on the realities of digitisation, and I know it's a daunting task to many museums (including my own) to reach complete digitisation. At the same time, I'm wary of the dangers of settling for just 'the greatest hits' and leaving the rest to be forgotten because it's unseen and unknown of. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is aiming to digitise their entire collection of 1 million objects (spanning all kinds of media and formats) by 2020. By putting it all online under completely free and open terms, in high quality and easy to find and re-use, they are experiencing that even the most obscure items ijn their collections are in fact being discovered, appreciated and used. This is an important argument for not making that selection for the public, but allowing the public to find and select for themselves what has value. - Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Mar 1, 2016

Privacy Concerns
As individuals allow companies and museums to track their transactions and visitor behavior in exchange for convenience and discount or free services, the security of data privacy is an increasing concern. A recent Accenture survey revealed that although 80% of consumers aged 20-40 in the United States and United Kingdom believe total privacy in the digital world is no longer possible, 87% believe that adequate safeguards are not in place to protect their privacy. The survey also highlighted consumer concern about the transparency around how their information is being stored and used. Recent security breaches at Home Depot and Sony Pictures Entertainment help to underscore the vulnerability of personal information. Privacy policies in the museum sector are continually being refined, but they are hardly keeping pace with the rapid acceleration of new data-centered technologies, creativity of cybercriminals, and changing expectations of privacy.
  • I agree this will be a growing challenge for museums as cultural institutions aim to customize and increase a data set of knowledge around their audiences. I especially see this as a concern as museums strive for leveraging location-based access technologies through museum-specific apps. I personally have encountered when beta-testing a mobile app that allows recording in the museum a growing concern for not wanting to be recorded without proper knowledge. How can museums embrace the transparency of the digital world while also keeping visitors comfortable and safe? Does this require more transparency on the institution to convey what they are tracking and gathering about visitors and how that's informing better experiences overall? - emily_fry emily_fry Feb 26, 2016
  • Museums should follow existing and developing legal parameters in this case, but focus on being a site where fear is engaged through thoughtful consideration, dialogue and testing of new terms and conditions, data and technologies. - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 28, 2016

Early and Iterative Prototyping
The trend titled "Measuring the Impact of New Technologies" made me think of another important and related trend, that of early-stage, rapid, lo-fidelity, iterative prototyping. Much of the discussion under that trend referred to more formal notions of evaluation, but given that there "are not always concrete precedents for the use of new technologies in the cultural heritage sector," one approach is to experiment with lo-fidelity, iterative prototypes. Drawing on techniques taken from The Lean Startup, museums can conduct generative research using Lean Startup experiments ( This is an area in which the R & D Labs mentioned under Research Question 2 can really drive change. - dmitroff dmitroff Feb 28, 2016 +1000!! - njohnson njohnson Feb 29, 2016 +1 - lizneely.mail lizneely.mail Mar 2, 2016

As I mentioned in the category about museum labs -- I think disseminating and sharing an iterative, agile, collaborative way of thinking/working should be the key goal of a lab or innovation department. How do we as 'digital' experience professionals help to transform our institutions by learning from our colleagues and working in an ongoing, iterative manners. This type of work excites me! - lizneely.mail lizneely.mail Mar 2, 2016

- I think this is so important and should be discussed more. Iteration is the future and museum need to embrace lo-fi testing especially of digital products to prevent wasting time and resources. An experimental mindset and embracing failure is key though before this will take shape long term. - margaretsternbergh margaretsternbergh Feb 29, 2016

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