Research Question 2: What key technologies are missing from our list?

Instructions: Please use these prompts to help you consider what might need to be added to the current list of Horizon Topics. Add your thoughts as bullet points below, using a new bullet point for each new technology or topic. Please add your comments to previous entries if you agree or disagree.

a. What would you list among the established technologies that some institutions are using today that arguably ALL museums should be using broadly to support or enhance museum education and interpretation?
b. What technologies that have a solid user base in consumer, entertainment, or other industries should museums be actively looking for ways to apply?
c. What are the key emerging technologies you see developing to the point that museums should begin to take notice during the next 4 to 5 years?

Each new topic entry must include a title, a description similar to the ones that are written now, and, if needed, a rationale as to why it is different from any of the existing topics. The Horizon Project research team will investigate each nomination entered here to see if it meets the criteria set for new topics (eg., that the topic represents a "real" technology, as opposed to a concept, a new idea, or a proposal; that it is sufficiently developed that research, projects, and information about it exist; and that it has a demonstrable link, or strong potential link, to education).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking them 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.
  • Online Translation tools. New tools like Google Translate have moved machine translation to the point where it is a viable and easy option. While "round trip" translations are not too good, "one way" translation are pretty accurate in most cases, and can provide a credible on-the-fly translation in many cases. Interested? Try - Larry Larry Apr 28, 2010 +1 - jeremy.ottevanger jeremy.ottevanger May 2, 2010 +1- Koven Koven May 3, 2010+1 Yes, the ability to go multilingual in a responsible way is so necessary to really be able to connect with our varied audiences. - liz.neely liz.neely May 3, 2010. My feeling is that the topic goes well beyond machine translation, encompassing the broad concept of multilingual capabilities for museum content, enabled not just by machine- and crowdsourced translation tools and by discipline specific vocabulary translations and thesauri (cf the many multilingual versions of AAT and the HEREIN project from MILE in Europe), but also by localization mechanisms and full unicode support in CMS and collections management systems--not to mention policy developments that support the distribution and processing of multilingual content (see, for example, the W3C's protocols for language attribution of web content, allowing multilingual content to be properly processed and indexed by semantic search engines). - susan.chun susan.chun May 4, 2010 Yes, I agree with Susan: as museums enhance their offerings to online audiences, the ability to communicate in a wide range of idioms becomes critical. I'm interested by social media tools for translation and 'micro-volunteering' (see that can help with this. - nancy.proctor nancy.proctor May 4, 2010nancy.proctor
  • After reading the technologies listed in RQ1, I would suggest that we need not noly to "add" but also to "combine," "level," and "delete." For example, social networking and social media might be able to be combined into one. Some topic should be level up as a system requirement which need to be achieved by using several technoligies. For example, the topic "Gamed-Based Learning" should be a trend or a requirement rather than an individual technology. From this observation, it might be more feasible to look at this topic as a matrix of technologies and museum education functional requirements. - james.lin james.lin May 2, 2010
  • text mining/content analysis/metadata enhancement. Services and companies like OpenCalais (, Hakia ( actually it looks like the API is no more), Zemanta, AdaptiveBlue (, and Yahoo!s various services ( take text and look in it for various types of content, then return that as metadata, or sometimes as suggested related links. This is the middle way that may help us to wring more from unstructured text and hook this rich resource into (loosely speaking) the semantic web. Several of them have services built on top, of course, as does WolframAlpha, which mines the net and reorganises what it finds into its own database for a semantic search engine built on top. Microsoft's experimental EntityCube (, ) does something similar, currently for “people” and “academic” entities. It also plots relationships it infers quite attractively in an interactive network e.g. (even if the results are a bit weird). There’s also a timeline view of relationships as seen in news.- jeremy.ottevanger jeremy.ottevanger May 2, 2010 This will be humungous. - Koven Koven May 3, 2010 - susan.chun susan.chun May 4, 2010
  • Community enhanced metadata can go beyond tagging to include quite formal metadata creation efforts, as in MELT (for Learning Objects, as well as the conscious creation of links to ideas we see in Twine ( How museums can learn from or work with ideas like these, or how they can pull in the data that people create in them, might be worth a look.- jeremy.ottevanger jeremy.ottevanger May 2, 2010 Along with this, I'm fascinated by the power of small communities of niche interests: I think they are an important and largely untapped resource of expertise and even content for museums. Metadata is just the start (but an important one)... - nancy.proctor nancy.proctor May 4, 2010nancy.proctor
  • Open data I think differs a little from how the open content issue was phrased. There's suddenly a mass of data out there from government and many other sources which enables us to put our own content in quite a different, richer context. So the point is not simply that there's a movement to open our own data and content (honestly, that's the easy bit); there's suddenly this opportunity to situate that content and information in this context and help people to make sense of it. That, after all, is our responsibility as interpreters, not merely as custodians (of things or of data).- jeremy.ottevanger jeremy.ottevanger May 2, 2010 +1 - Koven Koven May 3, 2010 - susan.chun susan.chun May 4, 2010
  • Print on Demand Museum publication is very rarely cost effective and distribution is quite difficult to secure. Museums have been looking for alternative means to sell and distribute their collection/exhibition catalogs and other scholarly publications (also see e-books). Museums are often forced to print large quantities of catalogs via traditional technologies, often generating large a significant overage and a high cost per necessary product. Print on demand technology, allowing for the high quality printing of single volumes or small quantities is very promising for museums. While print on demand has been around for almost a decade, it has only been recently that the technologies are capable of delivering full color volumes at a reasonable cost. - scott.sayre scott.sayre May 2, 2010 Ditto! Print - nancy.proctor nancy.proctor May 4, 2010nancy.proctor Print on demand is a complicated topic that goes beyond the need to cut down on printing costs. While large museums can afford to have equipment on site, and others choose vendors who will provide the vending and distribution services, the production that goes into creating publications that can be printed on demand is still a concern. Print on demand does not diminish the need for designers or production workflows that include obtaining images, copyright permissions, herding scholars, editing, and re-editing of text. Print on Demand needs to be be seen as a way that may alleviate one problem facing museums in the march larger arena of "what is a museum publication" in the 21st century.?- holly holly May 4, 2010
  • Apps Dedicated museum apps for mobile devices like the Android, iPhone and iPad are likely to gain a lot of traction in the museum field in the next 5 years. While networked content, particularly HTML5 will continue to be able to deliver greater dynamic experiences, bandwidth and wireless restrictions will make dedicated and hybrid apps with some onboard content necessary, at least in the short term. See SFMOMA's Garden App - scott.sayre scott.sayre May 2, 2010- May 4, 2010
  • Disposable apps/experiences (Following from Scott's comment) Some of the most successful (mobile) apps do only one thing, or only have a finite usage window. Museums haven't really picked up on this yet, as it's sort of the end result of orienting content towards niche audiences, which museums have yet to truly embrace. In the coming years, we'll see more of this--publishing apps that do only one thing, rather than apps that try to be all things to all people.- Koven Koven May 3, 2010 - mike.kelly mike.kelly May 3, 2010 Interesting idea - ninmah ninmah May 5, 2010
  • The Social Museum Many of the topics on RQ1 can be bundled into one category that represents an emerging field in museums - creating meaningful visitor experiences using a mashup of onsite and online tools, low tech and high tech, old school and new school. All based on the idea that people who come to museums want to have social experiences. I see a confluence of ideas emerging at my museum - curators and educators getting excited about geotagging and geo software, our education department working with screenwriters and technologists to create a collection based treasure hunt, etc.
  • Digital collaboration among institutions with a user-focus. Many of the new technologies described in this list describe tools, technologies, and design approaches that presumably would be launched and maintained within a single museum. However, in locations in which there are several informal learning institutions, there is a huge opportunity to link these experiences in a way that makes sense for the user/audience. Learning networks or learning communities can be organized to facilitate easy linkages of user activities across institutions. For example, a learning network could facilitate a teen's interest in paleontogy by combining in-person internships at a natural history museum, with digital exploration of fossil collections, to field work using geo-spatial technology and3D scanning, to gaming technology in which the young person shares his/her experiences with others.- elizabeth.babcock elizabeth.babcock May 2, 2010
  • Online Learning and Distance Learning. This is not new for many higher education, but still new in museum field. With increased cost of traveling and reduction of carbon footprint, delivering or facilitating training/learning workshop can be done in an online environment and/or via distance delivery mode - herminia.din herminia.din May 3, 2010. - phyllis.hecht phyllis.hecht May 3, 2010 - mike.kelly mike.kelly May 3, 2010 +1 - rosanna.flouty rosanna.flouty May 4, 2010
  • Digital Portfolios/alternative endorsements. One of the biggest challenges to linking informal and formal learning settings is the lack of portability of evidence of student achievement. Often students demonstrate amazing advances in their understanding of a difficult concept or field of study at a museum, through an internship, volunteer program, credit course. However, these accomplishments can be irrelevant to the students' work in school. New digital solutions need to be developed to allow students, teachers and coaches to be aware of students' work in diverse settings, incorporate said work into student assessments, and use evidence of student achievement to customize instruction for each student. - elizabeth.babcock elizabeth.babcock May 2, 2010
  • Alternative search strategies. I don't think that this rises to the level of a key technology, but I am keeping an eye on alternative search and other visual recognition/mining tools not specifically mentioned in the text mining section, above) because they are likely to impact the ways in which visual content is served (and therefore prepared) for audiences. - susan.chun susan.chun May 4, 2010