NMC Horizon Report > 2013 Museum Edition

The Horizons Project, established in 2002 by the New Media Consortium, looks at emerging technologies and what these mean for teaching, learning and education, and also for museums. The 2013 Horizon report focussing on museums (Johnson, et al., 2013) highlighted the following key trends in technology use and museums (p.8-9):
1. “Cross-institution collaboration is growing as an important way to share resources.
2. Collection-related rich media are becoming increasingly viable assets in digital interpretation.
3. Digitisation and cataloguing projects continue to require a significant share of museum resources.
4. Expectations for civic and social engagement are profoundly changing museums’ scope, reach, and relationships.
5. Increasingly, visitors and staff expect a seamless experience across devices.
6. More and more, people expect to be able to work, learn, study, and connect with their social networks wherever and wherever they want.
7. The need for data literacy is increasing in all museum-related fields.”

The report also identifies six significant challenges for museums in a digital age (p.10-11):
1. “Greater understanding is needed of the relationships, differences, and synergies between technology intended to be used in the museums and pubic-facing technology such as websites, social media, and mobile apps.
2. Museums of all sizes are struggling to adapt to how technology is redefining staff roles and organisational structures.
3. A comprehensive digital strategy has become a critically important part of planning for long-term institutional sustainability.
4. In many cases, museums may not have the necessary technical infrastructure in place to realise their vision for digital learning.
5. As our disabled population increases as a percentage of overall population, and as a percentage of our active, engaged, museum-attending population, accessibility cannot be an afterthought.
6. Museums are not doing a sufficient job of creating a sustainable environment to manage and deploy collection information and digital assets.”

The report details the technologies to watch in next 12 months. Interestingly, a key change in this year’s report is the concept of BYOD (bring your own device) as being a technology to be adopted in the next 12 months: “Today, separating a user from their tools and apps has become like separating them from some of their most precious belongings” (p.12). Gardner and Davis (2013), in researching young people in a digital world, noted the ways that apps have changed the way we relate to the world: “… young people growing up in our time are not only immersed in apps: they’ve come to think of the world as an ensemble of apps, to see their lives as a string of ordered apps” (p.7). [More on BYOD to come…]

The report can be downloaded here – it’s an important read, not only is it full of great ideas, there are also links to case studies and other readings. Enjoy!

Gardner, H. and Davis, K. (2013). The App Generation: How today’s youth navigate identity, intimacy and imagination in a digital world. Yale University Press: New Haven and London.

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S. and Freeman, A. (2013). The NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Museum Edition. The New Media Consortium: Austin, Texas.


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