Last week we went to the MuseumNext conference in Barcelona. It was a very interesting conference and we met quite some nice people. The audience (and the speakers) were quite young compared to other museum conferences we’ve visited in the past. That might tie in with something else we noticed: Wikipedia, free and open is not scary any more.
A couple of years ago, we spend most of our time convincing people to do something with Wikipedia, free knowledge and opening up. This conference was totally different. People were actually asking why we’re not doing more, plenty of museums are switching to free licenses and API’s are getting accepted as something every museum should have. As Lori Byrd Phillips says, “Wikipedia has become within the museum field: we are beyond the convincing, the “why,” – we’re now onto the “how.”
Talking about the community. People talk a lot about “Crowdsourcing“. Now some of them are finding out that the so useful looking “crowd” is sometimes more of a mob. The term “community sourcing” was used several times and I like that much more because I think it better covers what we’re doing. We should spread it!
Analytics was something that came up in several presentations. How to make analytics in a way that people can actually make decisions based on the numbers? We’re also struggling with that problem. The Wikimedia Foundation‘s analytics team is really scaling up, in the GLAMwiki tool set project we’re producing requirements, I hope to be setting up soon some statistics for Wiki Loves Monuments, so at least the struggle seems to be heading in the right direction. I like what Museum-Analytics is doing, the Victoria & Albert dashboard, and of course the dashboard of the IMA museum . A good way to measure how far you are seems to be the Web Analytics Maturity model.
Another hot topic was AR, or Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality is still in the “cool toy” phase. Not sure to where to place it exactly in the hype cycle. Some examples were shown. They work OK, but I’m under the impression that the technical part is getting pretty solid, but now everyone is wondering how the hell they can use it in a way that it’s useful. How can we (the Wikimedia community) use AR? I think QRpedia is something that is going to be expanded or maybe replaced with some king of “ARpedia” over time. So instead of me having to scan a qr code next to a painting, I just point my phone at the actual painting and the phone will recognize it and give more info. That’s just a matter of time.
Wikimedia is not the only organization working on mobile. A lot of museums have apps or are working on it. Some even have multiple apps (for example the MoMa). Next time you plan to visit a museum you might want to check your appstore 😉
I think going to these kind of conferences is very useful and that we, the GLAMwiki community, should have a conference strategy: The GLAMwiki community should be at every relevant conference, either presenting or as attendee.
To do this properly we have to keep track of conferences. For a lot of conferences you need to submit a paper 6 months in advance of the conference to be able to present, that will require some planning from our side.