The Denver Art Museum hosted the opening event, which included Imagining the Digital Future: a Conversation, with Howard Besser and Susan Chun, and a tasty reception. As it so frequently does these days, collaboration was addressed, especially between museums, libraries and universities. Howard commented that our different focuses sometimes get in the way of our success – universities value research and think long term, museums prioritize fast, actionable results, librarians worship privacy… When institutional personalities conflict like this it can be difficult to find a common goal, let alone work together. But collaboration can mean cost and labor savings so is highly valued by funders looking for the most bang for their buck. Perhaps collectivism is the way to go – giving priority to individual entities in a joint project just makes a mess.
IMLS also mentioned their new wiki, UpNext: The Future of Museums and Libraries, which, with the way we are reinventing ourselves to keep up with technology, declining budgets and shrinking staff, is a very interesting topic for all of us right now. Every two weeks they’ll introduce a new theme to discuss – I’m looking forward to three of the April themes – New Models & Structures for Collaboration, Planning for a Sustainable Future and Metrics for Evaluating Service & Impact.
By the way, if you weren’t able to get to WebWise, much of the content, including the filmed conversation last night, will be available after the conference via a webcast link from the website.