Trends of 2010 and 2011

While I certainly won ‘t make a blog post a day it’s time to get blogging again this new year of 2011. So how about summarising 2010 and making some prophecies for 2011? I’m prompted to do so by the association ideK. This new association works with Innovation, Ideas, Design, Communication and Cultural Heritage in Sweden and they’ve invited a few people in the GLAM-industry to summarise 2010 and put forth some predictions for 2011 concerning tech and social media. I’ve sent my answers to the questions to them and I’m quite sure they’ll post everyone’s answers there (and I’ll link when they do so), but I thought I’d post my answers here as well. Being a soothsayer is risky businnes so I’ve risk mitigated by trying to limit my answers to trends within our industry…

Anyway, here goes:

Which were, in your opinion, the most important/influential trends and technologies in 2010?

In my opinion the most important trend in 2010 is that GLAM-Wiki collaboration is on the cusp of becoming mainstream. This will have an effect on how Wikipedia volunteers and Wikimedia Foundation work with GLAMs – from the challenge of scarcity to the challenge of abundance. It’s similar to the sudden success of Flickr The Commons in some ways. The success of GLAM-Wiki collaboration I see as a subset of the Openness megatrend. Open Data, Open Content, Open APIs…

Another important trend is the entry of Google Books into the Europe of national libraries and major research libraries. I think we’ll see more of this in 2011 well aided by a probable reduction of public sector funding due to the recession. In many ways I think it’s good – I doubt that cost effective mass digitisation is the real strength of public GLAMs anyway, which links in to another 2010 trend: a burgeoning discussion about quantity and quality in digitisation within the GLAMs.

In terms of technology? Probably the combination of the personal (smartphones and social media), tactility (interaction by the human hand, not a mouse or other (alienating) device) and location awareness (again via the smart phone and check-in apps) into the smartphones and the various pads. This combination should be ready for maturity and mainstreaming in 2011!!!

What will be, in your opinion, the most important/influential trends and technologies in 2011?

I hope for a trend of looking at Linked Data and the Semantic Web as a means rather than an end. When LOD is talked about as little as Open ID and yet silently running in the background of many sites and services enriching user experiences (not just allowing machines to read other machine data) then I’d know it’s a success.

Discussion of the best GLAM business models will continue during 2011. eLearning+GLAMs is going to be one major component here I think. Hopefully everyone will keep in mind that good ideas and successful services usually come first and THEN business models are developed and applied.

Gesture control and large surface tactile control will become more mature during 2011 and we’ll see some trailblazing in e.g. museum exhibitions but it won’t go mainstream just yet. HTML5 and CSS3 will be increasingly used which will will also facilitate more sites and systems being usable in Smartphones and pads.

An implementation of the Smithsonian Commons project is something I’m also looking very much forward to doing some industrial espionage on!!!

What social media method/service is a must for cultural heritage institutions and organizations in 2011?

Well, here I think the method, if that’s the proper term, is much more important than specific tools and services. And method here is mostly about attitude and rethink of what authoritative means today. I think we’ll see a lot of institutions and organisations having internal struggles between an old paradigm of organisationally centralised communication units and a newer paradigm of an organisationally radically decentralised presence on the social web by individual (or networks of ) employees.

At the same time we’ll see increased professionalisation of the social media roles within organisations as well as a more business like thinking concerning the RoI and SEO of social media. Which I think is good as long as we don’t apply too old and rigid models of RoI and SEO.

Specific services? As said I think they’re less important than the attitude, and corporate culture, you bring to social media. However, Quora seems interesting (just joined so this is just a hunch). Tumblr isn’t new but will be increasingly used also by GLAMs (I find it underused currently). Otherwise I hope to see deeper integration of e.g. Facebook Like/Comments/Recommendations, Tweetbuttons and check-in services (e.g. for geotagging) into GLAM exhibitions and collections – down to the individual item level.

What skills do cultural heritage institutions need to succeed in 2011?

Succeed on the Web? Mostly the skill to dare and let go (of ownership and control). And to remember the core mission (of stewardship). I think a lot of what is holding GLAMs back isn’t lack of skills (or even funding), but inappropriate corporate culture.

Is there any person / event / technology / service / website / blog / app that you particularly would like to recommend in 2011 to anyone who is interested in digital communication?

Person and Blog: As always Nina Simon.

Apps/Technology: All the odd and fun stuff people will come up with hacking Kinect. It’s a personal favourite of mine, this inadvertent Microsoft release that might actually change an old interaction paradigm. I also have a real soft spot for 3D printing, esp. once the printers start printing 3D-printer components…

Events: Looks like 2011 is going to be full of hackathons!!!

That’s it! Please feel free in one year to tell me how wrong I am. Or go out on a limb and predict how wrong I’ll be. Right now in the comments field!

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2 Responses to Trends of 2010 and 2011

  1. Lynda Kelly says:

    Nice post David. Thanks for sharing. One of the trends (or perhaps it’s a challenge!) is how museums are going to change their traditional models of developing programs/exhibitions and cataloguing collections to take advantage of the possibilities presented by this exciting new world of technology. In other words, changing the ways we work. Radically.

    • Thanks Lynda! I agree that changing the way we work is the most important thing. And difficult because GLAM corporate culture is very inert. Or so I think after having worked at many institutions where there has been so many re-organisations and so little actual change!

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