I have finally taken the time to read newly-published -quite newly, mid-September 2010- Horizon Report on Museums by the Marcus Institute for Digital Education in the Arts (MIDEA), the arts branch of the New Media Consortium.
This is an excellent, well-documented and useful read on the future impact of technological trends within museums and their global outreach.
The report offers a useful timeline estimating the moment when each of the mobile, social media or AI-based techniques picked and presented in the document are most likely to make a lasting impact and be fully adopted and integrated by museums. The reports picks 6 of them as being the main key-trends for tomorrow.
- Social Media
Within 2-3 years
- Augmented Reality techniques (Digitally added content, QR Codes and their like)
Within 5 years (attention everyone)
- Gesture-based Computing >>The IPhone, IPad type of experience developping interaction between the Collection and the visitors, simplifying, while at the same time enriching the experience on and off-site, like the fun and already well-publicised Sea Monster exhibit in Lisbon.
- Semantic Web >> everything that has to do with enabling computers and search engines to actually understand the meaning and context of the key-word search, not such to mechanically return the most mainstream results. Says report: "The promise [of semantic aware] applications is to help us see connections that already exist, but that are invisible to current search algorithms"
In other words, intelligently -processed software allowing less time-consuming, more targeted and meaningful research leading to substantial workflow improvement. Check the "Modigliani test" , it extensively goes through the semantic-based process.
The report also identifies the key-interest of each technology falling into three categories: Education & Interpretation, Exhibitions and Collections, Visitor Services and Accessibility.
>> It is really worth-reading the 35 page full version enriched with the examples quoted above as well as many others if you haven't already of course.