1	
  
BOOM	
  	
  
Essay	
  for	
  Sharing	
  is	
  Caring:	
  
Openness	
  and	
  sharing	
  in	
  the	
  cultural	...
 
	
  2	
  
working	
  on	
  new	
  strategies	
  in	
  2011,	
  carefully	
  measuring	
  their	
  steps	
  into	
  the	
...
 
	
  3	
  
to	
  more	
  people.	
  2.4	
  billion	
  people,	
  34%	
  of	
  humanity,	
  are	
  now	
  online	
  and	
 ...
 
	
  4	
  
citizens	
  understand	
  their	
  history;	
  understand	
  science	
  –	
  if	
  they	
  engage,	
  ask	
  
...
 
	
  1	
  
	
  
Notes	
  
	
  
“I	
  gave	
  my	
  talk”:	
  See	
  slides	
  and	
  a	
  transcript	
  of	
  the	
  talk...
 
	
  2	
  
	
  
“The	
  cost	
  of	
  a	
  computer	
  chip”:	
  Think	
  in	
  terms	
  of	
  computers	
  the	
  size	
...
 
	
  3	
  
later	
  there	
  were	
  thousands...	
  Within	
  three	
  weeks	
  I	
  had	
  received	
  more	
  
feedbac...
 
	
  4	
  
	
  
	
  
This	
  essay	
  is	
  excerpted	
  from	
  the	
  book	
  Sharing	
  is	
  Caring:	
  Openness	
  
...
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Boom: Openness and Sharing in the Cultural Heritage Sector

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My essay for the book Sharing is Caring: Openness and sharing in the cultural sector, Merete Sanderhoff, editor, published by the National Gallery of Denmark, 2014.
Free download at http://sharingiscaring.smk.dk/en

"Michael opens this anthology by establishing why it is crucial for the cultural heritage sector to seize the opportunity offered by the Internet and digitization to reach global populations and make a difference in their lives. Through many years of pioneering efforts within the field of digital technologies, and generous sharing of expertise and advice, Michael has inspired institutions worldwide to dare working more openly and inclusively with the users’ knowledge and creativity."

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Boom: Openness and Sharing in the Cultural Heritage Sector

  1. 1.    1   BOOM     Essay  for  Sharing  is  Caring:   Openness  and  sharing  in  the  cultural  sector   Published  by  Statens  Museum  for  Kunst,  2014   Merete  Sanderhoff,  editor   Free  download  at  http://sharingiscaring.smk.dk/en     Boom   My  job  in  this  essay  is  not  about  tact  or  charm.  My  job  is  to  sail  a  gunboat  up   your  river  and  fire  a  warning  shot  over  your  city.     Boom.     The  future  is  here.  What  are  you  going  to  do?     I  gave  my  talk  about  “going  boldly  into  the  present”  and  the  urgent  need  for   change  at  the  first  Sharing  is  Caring  conference  in  November,  2011  –  more   than  700  days  ago.  During  those  700  days,  most  museums,  libraries,  archives,   and  cultural  organizations  didn’t  change  much:  if  you  visited  one  in  2011,  met   with  the  staff,  and  returned  again  today,  you  would  be  hard  pressed  to  detect   a  significant  difference.  Many  of  the  biggest  and  best  organizations  were  
  2. 2.    2   working  on  new  strategies  in  2011,  carefully  measuring  their  steps  into  the   digital  age,  and  many  of  those  plans  have  not  been  finished  or  implemented.   Others  spent  the  last  700  days  on  small  digital  experiments  without  risking   much,  asking  much,  or  expecting  much  in  return.  And  while  we  were  in   committee  meetings,  plotting  our  slow,  careful  course,  the  future  changed  –   accelerated  and  crashed  into  us  –  and  the  world  in  which  we  need  to  succeed   became  something  else.     In  the  700  days  since  my  talk,  the  world’s  population  grew  by  140  million   people  –  200,000  individuals  a  day  –  each  with  the  right  to  be  educated;  each   with  the  right  to  access  and  shape  their  culture.  476  million  people  became   new  Internet  users  in  the  last  700  days,  and  872  million  people  –  more  than   the  entire  population  of  the  European  Union  nations,  Canada,  and  the  United   States  combined  –  became  new  mobile  phone  subscribers.  Facebook  enrolled   its  one  billionth  member  last  year.  Facebook  is  only  ten  years  old,  but  if  it   were  a  country,  it  would  now  be  the  third  largest  nation  on  earth.  Wikipedia,   approaching  its  two  billionth  edit,  is  barely  a  teenager.     The  cost  of  a  computer  chip  –  perhaps  the  most  disruptive  technology  ever   made  –  fell  by  half  in  the  last  700  days.  Computer  chips  have  become  50%   cheaper  (or  two-­‐times  more  powerful)  every  700  days  for  the  last  50  years,   and  they  are  expected  to  keep  doing  so  at  least  through  mid-­‐century,  at  which   point  they  will  be  so  cheap  and  powerful  that  if  I  were  to  describe  the  societal   implications  here  you  would  likely  stop  reading  this  essay  in  disbelief.     The  exponentially  falling  cost  and  rising  power  of  computer  chips  also  has  a   short-­‐term  consequence:  it  makes  Internet  access  and  technology  affordable  
  3. 3.    3   to  more  people.  2.4  billion  people,  34%  of  humanity,  are  now  online  and   connected.  Even  in  the  poorest  parts  of  the  world,  it  is  not  unusual  to  see   pushcart  vendors,  rickshaw  drivers,  and  even  beggars  with  cell  phones.     India,  the  world’s  largest  democracy,  has  a  new  “virtual  middle  class”  of  300   million  people  who  are  profoundly  poor,  but  who,  for  the  first  time,  are   claiming  their  full  rights  as  citizens  because  they  are  connected  to  the  Internet   and  can  interact  with  government  and  fellow  citizens  as  easily  as  their  richer,   more  educated  neighbors.  40,000  people  from  113  countries  just   took  Introduction  to  Sociology,  online,  for  free,  from  Princeton  University.   830,000  people  from  over  180  countries  have  contributed  time  and  effort  to   citizen  science  projects  through  the  Adler  Planetarium’s  Zooniverse  website.   The  citizens  of  Iceland  are  crowdsourcing  a  new  constitution.  Users  have   translated  the  Mona  Lisa’s  Wikipedia  page  into  89  languages.  The  National   Gallery  of  Denmark’s  website  features  comments  from  Germany,  Russia,   Spain,  New  Zealand,  India,  South  Africa,  the  Philippines,  Egypt,  Libya,  Turkey,   Nigeria,  Indonesia,  and  the  United  Kingdom:  On  one  group  of  pages  about  the   masterpieces  of  Danish  art,  comments  by  Danes  are  outnumbered  by   comments  from  other  countries  by  35:1.     Everywhere  I  look,  I  see  the  old  rules  about  who  has  a  voice,  who  does  the   work,  and  who  gets  to  benefit  being  re-­‐written  on  a  global  scale.  It  is  amazing,   but  what  surprises  me  most...  is  that  we  find  it  surprising  at  all.  We  have   wanted  this  since  the  Enlightenment.     Our  institutions  are  founded  on  the  principle  that  knowledge  and  culture   belong  to  everyone;  that  we  will  be  a  stronger,  wiser,  more  resilient  society  if  
  4. 4.    4   citizens  understand  their  history;  understand  science  –  if  they  engage,  ask   questions,  converse,  learn,  challenge,  create,  and  do.  We  believe  that  culture   isn’t  something  frozen  in  amber:  culture  only  has  meaning  when  it  is  alive  in   our  minds,  re-­‐worked  by  our  hands,  and  loved  in  our  hearts.     While  we’ve  been  in  committee  these  last  700  days,  advancing  at  the  scale  and   speed  of  yesteryear,  the  next  700  days  began.  The  future  is  ready  for  us  now;   hungry  for  our  resources,  craving  our  expertise,  listening  for  what  we  have  to   say.  It  is  our  obligation  –  our  privilege  –  to  respond  and  serve.  A  few  brave   institutions  lead  the  way,  but  even  they  must  race  to  keep  up.     And  just  outside  the  committee  room  –  beyond  the  exhibition  galleries;  past   the  library  stacks,  classrooms,  labs,  and  archives  –  another  question  looms:  It   isn’t  what  we  do  now  that  there  are  2.4  billion  of  us  online,  it’s  what  will   happen  when  the  next  5  billion  people  join  us.     Boom.     Let’s  get  to  work.     2014,  MICHAEL  PETER  EDSON,  DIRECTOR  OF  WEB  AND  NEW  MEDIA   STRATEGY,  SMITHSONIAN  INSTITUTION
  5. 5.    1     Notes     “I  gave  my  talk”:  See  slides  and  a  transcript  of  the  talk,  Let  Us  Go  Boldly   Into  The  Present,  My  Brothers  and  Sisters,   at  http://www.slideshare.net/edsonm/  michael-­‐edson-­‐let-­‐us-­‐go-­‐ boldly-­‐into-­‐the-­‐present-­‐text-­‐version,  and  the  video   athttps://vimeo.com/43240962     “the  world’s  population  grew  by  140  million  people”:  140  million  is   the  rise  in  total  global  population,  not  to  be  confused  with  new  births.   Population  data  (as  of  mid-­‐year,  2013)  from  US  Census  Bureau   International  Data  Base,http://   www.census.gov/population/international/data/idb/informationGate way.php.     “each  with  the  right  to  be  educated”:  Statements  about  the   educational  expectations  and  the  right  to  access  and  shape  culture  are   direct  references  to  the  United  Nations’  Universal  Declaration  of  Human   Rights,  first  adopted  in   1948,  www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml,  accessed  9  May   2013.     New  Internet  and  mobile  phone  users:  Aggregate  Internet  and  mobile   phone  data  from  International  Telecommunications  Union  “2006-­‐2013   ITC  data  for  the  world”  spreadsheet  at  www.itu.int/en/ITU-­‐ D/Statistics/Pages/stat/  default.aspx,  accessed  1  May  2013.     “Facebook  enrolled  its  one  billionth  member”:  “Revealed:  The  third   largest  ‘country’  in  the  world  –  Facebook  hits  one  billion  users”  by  Rob   Williams,  4  October  2012,  www.independent.co.uk/lifestyle/gadgets-­‐ and-­‐tech/news/revealed-­‐the-­‐third-­‐largest-­‐country-­‐in-­‐the-­‐world-­‐-­‐ facebook-­‐hits-­‐one-­‐billion-­‐users-­‐8197597.html,  accessed  1  May  2013.       “Wikipedia,  approaching  its  two  billionth  edit”:  Total  edits  in   Wikimedia  proj-­‐  ects:toolserver.org/~emijrp/wikimediacounter/,   accessed  1  May  2013.  
  6. 6.    2     “The  cost  of  a  computer  chip”:  Think  in  terms  of  computers  the  size  of   bacteria.  By  mid-­‐century,  a  ,000  personal  computer  is  likely  to  have  a   billion  times  more  processing  power  than  the  combined  brains  of  every   person  on  earth.  Kaku,  Michio,  The  Physics  of  the  Future:  How  Science   Will  Shape  Human  Destiny  and  Our  Daily  Lives  by  the  Year  2100,  2010,   Doubleday,  New  York,  p.  117.  The  doubling  of  the  number  of  transistors   that  can  fit  on  a  computer  chip  every  18-­‐24  months  is  known  as  Moore’s   Law:  I  use  700  days  as  the  period  of  doubling,  roughly  23  months.     2.4  billion  people  online:  Aggregate  Internet  and  mobile  phone  data   from  International  Telecommunications  Union  “2006-­‐2013  ITC  data  for   the  world”  spreadsheet  at  www.itu.int/en/ITU-­‐ D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx,  accessed  1  May  2013.       “Vendors,  rickshaw  drivers,  and  even  beggars”:  This  is  derived  from   a  com-­‐  ment  by  journalism  professor  Dr.  Jack  Zibluk,  3  February  2013,   on  the  article  The  Virtual  Middle  Class  Rises,  By  Thomas  L.  Friedman,  2   February  2013,  New  York   Times,  www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/fried-­‐man-­‐ the-­‐virtual-­‐middle-­‐class-­‐rises.html,  accessed  1  May  2013.  Though  there   are  six  billion  cell  phone  subscribers  worldwide,  most  of  these  are   simple  “feature  phones”  that  can  send  and  receive  SMS  messages,  but  do   not  have  Internet  access.  Falling  chip  prices  are  expected  to  bring   Internet  ready  smart  phones  with  cameras,  video,  GPS,  WiFi  etcetera   within  reach  of  current  feature  phone  users  in  the  not-­‐too-­‐distant   future.  A  general  discussion  of  this  topic  can  be  found  in  Eric  Schmidt   and  Jared  Cohen’s  The  New  Digital  Age:  Reshaping  the  Future  of  People,   Nations  and  Business  (Alfred  A.  Knopf,  2013),  particularly  in  the   introduction,  pp.  4-­‐8.     India’s  virtual  middle  class:  The  Virtual  Middle  Class  Rises,  by  Thomas   L.  Friedman,  published  2  February  2013,  New  York   Times,  www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/friedman-­‐the-­‐ virtual-­‐middle-­‐class-­‐rises.html,  accessed  1  May  2013.   Introduction  to  Sociology:  Mitchell  Duneier,  the  professor  who  taught   this  course,  wrote:  “When  I  give  this  lecture  on  the  Princeton  campus,  I   usually  receive  a  few  penetrating  questions.  In  this  case,  however,   within  a  few  hours  of  posting  the  online  version,  the  course  forums   came  alive  with  hundreds  of  comments  and  questions.  Several  days  
  7. 7.    3   later  there  were  thousands...  Within  three  weeks  I  had  received  more   feedback  on  my  sociological  ideas  than  I  had  in  a  career  of  teaching,   which  significantly  influenced  each  of  my  subsequent  lectures  and   seminars.”  Teaching  to  the  World  From  Central  New  Jersey  by  Mitchell   Duneier,  Chronicle  of  Higher  Education,  3  September   2012chronicle.com/article/Teaching-­‐to-­‐the-­‐World-­‐From/134068/,   accessed  6  May  2013.     Zooniverse:  Http://zooniverse.org.  “Over  180  countries”  is  from  8  May   2013  correspondence  with  Arfon  Smith,  Director  of  Citizen  Science,   Adler  Planetarium     Iceland  crowdsourcing  a  new  constitution:  See  “Iceland  is   Crowdsourcing  Its  New  Constitution”,  10  June   2011,www.good.is/posts/iceland-­‐is-­‐  crowdsourcing-­‐its-­‐new-­‐ constitution/?utm_content=image&utm_medium=hp_carousel&utm_sou rce=slide_4,  accessed  6  May  2013.     The  Mona  Lisa’s  Wikipedia  page:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Lisa,   accessed  9  May  2013.     “The  National  Gallery  of  Denmark’s  website”:  Candidates  for  Google   Gigapixel,  National  Gallery  of  Denmark  (Statens  Museum  for  Kunst),  20   November  2012,   https://plus.google.com/photos/+StatensMuseumforKunst/albums/58 12929202671334753,  accessed  7  May  2013.  Note  that  these  pages  are   are  on  the  gallery’s  Google+  site,  not  under  the  gallery’s  main  smk.dk   domain,  but  they  are  under  the  gallery’s  full  editorial  control  and  I’m   therefore  depicting  them  as  being  part  of  the  National  Gallery  of   Denmark  “website.”  Of  the  56  comments  on  this  group  of  web  pages,   three  comments  were  made  by  two  individuals  who  identified   themselves  as  living  in  Denmark;  one  of  those  is  an  employee  of  the   gallery.      
  8. 8.    4       This  essay  is  excerpted  from  the  book  Sharing  is  Caring:  Openness   and  sharing  in  the  cultural  sector,  Merete  Sanderhoff,  editor,   published  by  the  National  Gallery  of  Denmark,  2014.   Free  download  at  http://sharingiscaring.smk.dk/en         Free  download  and  more  at   http://sharingiscaring.smk.dk    

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