What will a digital Natural History
Museum look like in 10 years time?
Ed Baker & Vince Smith10.6084/m9.figshare.749700
WE FORGED OUR DREAMS IN A SIMPLER TIME
SUCCESS WAS MEASURED BY SPECIMENS
BUILDINGS
AND STAFF
BUT NOW BILLIONS OF PEOPLE CAN PARTICIPATE
OUTCOMES ONCE INCONCEIVABLE
ARE NOW ROUTINE
ARE NOW ROUTINE
Yes, you can now get
PCR fridge magnets
WE NEED NEW DREAMS
You can tell a lot about
someone’s dreams by how
they choose to measure
them
SCOPE
SCALE
SPEED
NEW TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS US TO DO NEW SCIENCE
AND COMMUNICATE IT IN NEW WAYS
AT THE RIGHT LEVEL
AT THE RIGHT LEVEL
SCOPE
Relevant content that may be outside our remit
SCALE
This article exists in 49 languages
SPEED
Al...
IN THE RIGHT LANGUAGE
WIDER ENGAGEMENT & PARTICIPATION
WIDER ENGAGEMENT & PARTICIPATION
LEADS TO RICH DATA FROM NEW SOURCES
SOME OF THEM WON’T BE SENTIENT
WE CAN MAKE USE OF NEW DEVICES
FOR EDUCATION?
Datana is a genus of
moths of the
Notodontidae family.
Datana integerrima
Datana major
FOR RESEARCH?
Datana major
• 25 specimens in collection
• 2 specimens within 25km
• 0 specimens within 5km
WE ARE MORE PRODUCTIVE WHEN SHARING WITH OUR
COLLABORATORS
BUT NOW EVERYBODY IS A POTENTIAL COLLABORATOR
HOW SHOULD WE BEHAVE?
With such a large amount of
information, we can start to tackle
BIG questions
REAL TIME
Monitoring of invasive species, medical
vectors, crop pests……
TRY TO AVOID THIS
SO WHAT ARE OUR DREAMS?
Communicating knowledge of the natural
world to an international audience
Communicating knowledge of the natural
world to an international audience
In their language
Communicating knowledge of the natural
world to an international audience
In their language
Wherever they are
CAN WE MODEL THE BIOSPHERE?
What will a digitial Natural History Museum look like in 10 years time?
What will a digitial Natural History Museum look like in 10 years time?
What will a digitial Natural History Museum look like in 10 years time?
What will a digitial Natural History Museum look like in 10 years time?
What will a digitial Natural History Museum look like in 10 years time?
What will a digitial Natural History Museum look like in 10 years time?
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What will a digitial Natural History Museum look like in 10 years time?

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With more than a little nod to Michael Edson

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  • So we want to use this last talk as a vehicle to encourage some general discussion about some the themes that have come up today. Ed and I have pulled together some of the ideas that are in development, and speculate about where these may take us in the next few years.
  • So as an institution we forged our dreams in a simpler time… (VINCE)
  • When our success was measured by things like the specimens in our collection…
  • The buildings where we housed them…
  • And the staff that worked here…
  • But now, what was once the domain of a few people that could come to the Natural History Museum, is now the preserve of the billions that have access to the internet.
  • The internet breaks down these boundaries so that outcomes that were once inconceivable.
  • Are nowroutine. (VINCE)
  • Yes – you can now get PCR fridge magnets! (VINCE)
  • So we need new dreams.
  • We think you can tell a lot about someone’s dreams, by how they choose to measure them. SO for an institution of this size, we need big dreams. SO what does BIG mean.
  • Our dreams must be scoped to include the entirety of the natural world. All of its species, past and present; what its made from, and how these interact.
  • Our dreams need to scale from the smallest microbe to the blue whale. We can’t afford to just invest in niches or fashions.
  • And the pressures on our planet mean we don’t have time to waste. We need quick wins as well as long term solutions.
  • Much of this is going to require new technologies to do this science. Metagenomics for example, provides an entirely new window on biodiversity, allowing us to investigate organisms, genes and interactions, and challenge some of the very tenants of what makes up the natural world.
  • Technology also allows us to communicate in new ways. Our science will increasingly underpin public policy and discussion, and we need to engage with people through platforms they are currently using, rather than reinvent our own.
  • This means engagement at the right level – we can’t assume everyone has the same knowledge and understanding, or even interest. Some people need a broad overview, while other engage directly with our science. It should be for them to decide, and not us to dictate.
  • We don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Lots of good content already exists that we can repurpose leaving us time to fill in the gaps.
  • This needs to be inclusive, as many of the people that need our knowledge the most, don’t even speak the same language.
  • If our mission is to inspire engagement and interest in the natural world, our target audience has to be everybody.
  • And for some, this means genuinely participating in our mission. New technology makes this easier than ever.
  • Creating rich data from new sources
  • Some of which, won’t even be sentient. We can increasingly automate field identification, collecting more data with less effort.
  • New devices can take advantage of this, so that perhaps in 10 years your spectacles will become a head-up-display, which like facial recognition, will allow us to identify species.
  • Leading to new opportunities for education and new platforms for delivering our content.
  • And through this massive pool of data, new opportunities for research,
  • And challenge the way we do research into the future.
  • So that everyone becomes a collaborator
  • Realizing the potential of these new data and collaborators requires new ways to behave - where sharing becomes the default.
  • So that we can begin to tackle the big questions on a global scale.
  • Enabling us to shape our future.
  • A future where data comes in real time. (ED)
  • Is combined with what we know already. (ED)
  • And with quick and easy analysis. (ED)
  • So tasks that once took months, happen continuously behind the scenes. (ED)
  • New visualisations will allow us to make sense of these data; identify trends, and allowing us to communicate them in understandable and compelling ways. (VINCE --- BUT ED TO SET VIDEO GOING)
  • So hopefully the answer to this question… (ED)
  • Isn’t out of order. (ED)
  • SO what are our dreams… (VINCE)
  • They are about collaboration and communication (ED)
  • In your language (VINCE)
  • Wherever you are (ED)
  • And perhaps we can distill all this to a single research question. (VINCE)
  • Maybe this question. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. (VINCE)
  • What will a digitial Natural History Museum look like in 10 years time?

    1. 1. What will a digital Natural History Museum look like in 10 years time? Ed Baker & Vince Smith10.6084/m9.figshare.749700
    2. 2. WE FORGED OUR DREAMS IN A SIMPLER TIME
    3. 3. SUCCESS WAS MEASURED BY SPECIMENS
    4. 4. BUILDINGS
    5. 5. AND STAFF
    6. 6. BUT NOW BILLIONS OF PEOPLE CAN PARTICIPATE
    7. 7. OUTCOMES ONCE INCONCEIVABLE
    8. 8. ARE NOW ROUTINE
    9. 9. ARE NOW ROUTINE Yes, you can now get PCR fridge magnets
    10. 10. WE NEED NEW DREAMS
    11. 11. You can tell a lot about someone’s dreams by how they choose to measure them
    12. 12. SCOPE
    13. 13. SCALE
    14. 14. SPEED
    15. 15. NEW TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS US TO DO NEW SCIENCE
    16. 16. AND COMMUNICATE IT IN NEW WAYS
    17. 17. AT THE RIGHT LEVEL
    18. 18. AT THE RIGHT LEVEL SCOPE Relevant content that may be outside our remit SCALE This article exists in 49 languages SPEED All of this content already exists
    19. 19. IN THE RIGHT LANGUAGE
    20. 20. WIDER ENGAGEMENT & PARTICIPATION
    21. 21. WIDER ENGAGEMENT & PARTICIPATION
    22. 22. LEADS TO RICH DATA FROM NEW SOURCES
    23. 23. SOME OF THEM WON’T BE SENTIENT
    24. 24. WE CAN MAKE USE OF NEW DEVICES
    25. 25. FOR EDUCATION? Datana is a genus of moths of the Notodontidae family. Datana integerrima Datana major
    26. 26. FOR RESEARCH? Datana major • 25 specimens in collection • 2 specimens within 25km • 0 specimens within 5km
    27. 27. WE ARE MORE PRODUCTIVE WHEN SHARING WITH OUR COLLABORATORS
    28. 28. BUT NOW EVERYBODY IS A POTENTIAL COLLABORATOR
    29. 29. HOW SHOULD WE BEHAVE?
    30. 30. With such a large amount of information, we can start to tackle BIG questions
    31. 31. REAL TIME
    32. 32. Monitoring of invasive species, medical vectors, crop pests……
    33. 33. TRY TO AVOID THIS
    34. 34. SO WHAT ARE OUR DREAMS?
    35. 35. Communicating knowledge of the natural world to an international audience
    36. 36. Communicating knowledge of the natural world to an international audience In their language
    37. 37. Communicating knowledge of the natural world to an international audience In their language Wherever they are
    38. 38. CAN WE MODEL THE BIOSPHERE?
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