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Below is a selection of videos from leading museum professionals, researchers and animated cats worldwide talking about new technologies and the future of museums.

1. Michael Edson, Director of Web and New Media Strategy at the Smithsonian Institution <link>

Michael EdsonThe talk is about web strategy and Michael Edson’s Smithsonian Commons project. In American culture, and certainly in world culture, we are at the moment when we are beginning to understand creativity in new terms. The language around creativity have shifted from being a nice, decorative extra to life – a beautiful painting, a song, etc. – to creativity being an engine of innovation, of economic recovery, of problem solving. Museums meet great challenges today and it will be needed a tremendous amount of creativity to raise to these challenges. In his work at the Smithsonian Edson borrows the tactics from the social entrepreneurship movement: “Start small, think big, move fast.” He sees civic institutions as catalysts for growth and change outside their walls. Museums, libraries, all collecting organizations should establish free resources to add value to, add strength to entrepreneurship, business, creation, scholarship, innovation outside their walls without attempting to capture some of that value back, without attempting to directly monetize that. “I think that’s a big question on the table now.”

Edson is asked to tell more about the Smithsonian Commons:

The Smithsonian Commons is a project that is just beginning and the goal is to stimulate innovation and creativity and learning through open access to Smithsonian resources, expertise and communities. In the old epoch institutions like the Smithsonian, like universities were built on the model of enduring wisdom. We didn’t have to change, we didn’t have to look outside ourselves too strenuously because wisdom endures, wisdom is slow. In this epoch I think we’ll be measuring our worth, this library will be measuring its worth, the Smithsonian will be measuring its worth in terms of how successful we make people outside our walls. It’s a very different way of thinking. It requires a great deal of institutional humility and generosity. I’m inspired by the work of Kathy Sierra, social web thought leader who said: “in the old days the pitch for business was follow me, I’m great. The big opportunity now is follow me or my product because I help make YOU great”. I think that James Smithson, the creator of the Smithsonian Institution, believed that everyone should have access to raw materials to create knowledge. Everyone! Smithsonian Commons demonstrates a new model of knowledge creation – one that is fast, transparent and open. The spirit of this project is one in which they define success as a truly open sandbox that belongs to everybody.

2. Guggenheim Museum’s project YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video <link>

Guggenheim Museum's project YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative VideoBy Nora Semel, Associate Director of External Affairs at the Guggenheim Foundation & Francesca Merlino, Marketing Manager at the Guggenheim Museum. Nora and Francesca present their YouTube Play project at the Museum Next 2011 conference in Edinburgh. “YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video was a collaboration between the Guggenheim, YouTube, HP and Intel. And it was developed to discover and recognize the most exceptional talent working in creative video today. Simply put, we just invited amateur and professional creators around the world to submit their videos online via a YouTube play channel we created especially for this project.”

3. David Rumsey- Reading Historical Maps Digitally: How Spatial Technologies Can Enable Close, Distant and Dynamic Interpretations <link>

David Rumsey-mapsDavid Rumsey gave the opening keynote lecture for the Digital Humanities 2011 Conference at Stanford University on July 19, 2011.

Abstract: Maps are dense, complex information systems arranged spatially. While they share similarities with other visual artifacts, their uniqueness as spatially arranged visual information both allows for and demands special digital approaches to understand and reuse their content. Georeferencing, vectorization, virtual reality, image databases, and GIS-related tools all work to unite our eyes, minds, and computers in new ways that can make historical maps more valuable and accessible to humanists concerned with place and space over time.

4. Elissa Frankle, Education consultant at the United States Holocasut memorial Museum Citizen History: Making History with the Masses <link>

Elissa FrankleNew perspective on crowdsourcing, a kind of paradigm shift. Involve people not just into the data collecting projects, but give them instead the opportunity to interpret the data and create museum histories, solve the unresolved mysteries from the past, etc. “History becomes a partnership.” Very well, funny and originally presented talk.


5. Study of New Technologies in Museums, by J. Hudson  <link>

New Technologies in Museums, by J. HudsonLouvre Museum, Paris.

Interviews with visitors about the digital guide: everyone complains that it is too complicated and not intuitive. Camera observation: people pay more attention to the device than to the paintings. People are lost and confused by the device.

6. Pinky Show – Digital Collections <link>

Pinky ShowAnimated reflections on digital collections

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