LITA Top Technology Trends
InterContinental Grand Ballroom
Sunday, July 12, 2009

It’s a wrap for this year’s Top Technology Trends discussion. I’ve tried to hammer out the bits I can catch, and they’re listed here. For more information, check out the information captured in the live blog. This year’s backchannel was particularly rich thanks to all those who tweeted. To review the Twitter posts, check out #ttt09 and #toptech.

Panelists
Eric Lease Morgan
Joan Frye Williams
Clifford Lynch
John Blyberg
Geert Van Den Boogaard
Roy Tennant

Online Trendsters
Marshall Breeding
Sarah Houghton-Jan
Karen Schneider

Video help from the Shanachies.

Blyberg: Mobile devices and handhelds and ultraportables and sub-laptops have already outstripped laptops and desktops.

Van Den Boogaard: At Delft there are already devices for downloading books in the library.

Williams: I always feel like the outlier. There is a presumption that information is the point. The counter is that transformation is the point. The creative process is going to be very similar regardless of the technology. Are people isolated by mobility or merely integrated in new places?

Tennant: We’ll do some things on smaller devices and some on larger. I don’t see a lot of massive transformations in just five years.

Lynch – Clear that there is more access from various portable devices. Contrast access from computation. Computation is moving to the cloud.

In terms of the roles of libraries, the striking omission is the preservation role. Cloud may be part of the storage solution. The management is not really transferable to the commercial sector.

How much are we willing to put into the cloud, and how much are we willing to trust it?

Displacement of laptops to other devices. Ramification – easier to capture images and video. It’s a lot harder to generate substantial amounts of prose.

Morgan - Use the right tool for the right job. Supplement the handheld device with something more powerful. Mobile is good for small facts. Larger jobs require different tecnology.

Finding stuff isn’t the problem anymore. More information than I know what to do with. Need to create tools that let people do what the need to do with the information.

Blyberg - Everyone who gets online develops a secondary persona. Persona is developed through the handheld device. Need to distinguish between what is important and was isn’t.

Van Den Boogaard – People use mobiles for many different functions, but they’re not for everyone. Depending on the user, some people can do a lot with them. Look at what users are using handhelds for what purpose.

Open Everything

Morgan -Some institutions will want more control over their computing environment. Other institutions will be happy to have others manage it for them.

The photocopier didn’t put publishers out of business. The Internet didn’t put them out of business. It will be a balance.

We feel compelled to provide services to our patrons at any cost. We’re feel that we’re providing a public good.

Williams – I don’t think the market will be the library. It will be the end-user What we thought of as our tools are really now THEIR tools. Vendors are marketing directly to them.

Blyberg – Vendrs providing service vs. software – in the next 10 years (maybe less), companies that focus on services.

Blyberg – Open-source software is separate and completely different from the idea of software as a service.

Van Den Boogaard – I wouldn’t go for completely open software. I would go for a small system that users can build and add onto.

Tennant – It’s much more likely that Google will tire of negotiating with vendors and write them a check.

Lynch – The future of authoring and communication. Those

It’s important to recognize that the world of mass market communication is informed by a different set of values and economics.

Research libraries that interact heavily with the scholarly communication world will see a need for different kinds of systems. There is still an enormous historical mass of printed literature. It still embodies the practices of the past.

Lightning Round

Morgan – Exploring the realm of digital humanities to a greater degree. If you understand that there is enormous amounts of free text – more than ever before – there is a whole giant wealth of untapped information.

Tracking ideas through vast amounts of text, analysis to find similarities in texts, find tools to use against these texts.

We need to think about ways of harnessing the computer in different ways. What about sticking the computer in the greenhouse?

I have yet to see federated searching really fulfill the promise that it had. Instead people are trying to aggregate data and combine it with local content.

If we as librarians did this, we would be come more self-reliant

Williams – A human drive towards the reconstruction narrative.

In their work people are iterative are collaborative. It’s like jazz – finding the thread that runs through things. Find things that enrich one another.

Williams -The aggregation and combination of objects and experiential unfolding of training snacks. Doesn’t use a lot of someone’s time but uses a lot of communication techniques. Immersive but brief experience. New opportunity for libraries.

Question from audience – What about the democratization of access?
Williams answer –more people have phones than have ever had computers.

Government-issued information stamps? Easier to subsidize information access.

Lynch – Many mobile devices are rented by the month. In some ways that makes them more accessible.

Lynch – Agrees with Williams’ comments about narrative. More widespread and deeper than many people realize. Seeing a lot of discussion about how to make narratives portale across tools.

The idea of digital humanities has been building to critical mass.

We’re inviting the population to reconnect with 2,000 years of original documentary evidence.

Lynch – Bandwidth is a problem and getting bigger. The rise of the cloud is pure rhetoric if the bandwidth can’t support it.

Lynch – The continued sudden implosion of various things under economic pressures.

Lynch – Some things are just vanishing suddenly, but we aren’t dealing with the consequences. Corporate records, corporate history, public records.

Blyberg – The future of journalism. Micropayments.

Who’s going to do it first? There is an opportunity for libraries to get involved in the process. Libraries need to say this is an issue about access to valid information. We have a vested interest in making sure the transition to from print to online goes smoothly.

Rapid trending – Example of the Iran election Twitter tag. At first it was very practical information. Then an element of extremism was introduced. It was the world getting caught up in emotion and anger.

In the last year and a half, we’ve started to engage the end-user from an experience design standpoint. We used to use the term customer service. We see this in architecture, web pages, content management.

Audience Question: Are Google, FaceBook, etc. spawning crowdthink. Is it a fault of the tools? Are they making us stupid?

Blyberg – No, they’re making us smarter. I can have answers in 20 seconds. Our online experience lets us do instantaneous queries.

Williams – In talking about technical services, if you just automate a mess, you’re going to get a fast mess.

Lynch – How much of knowledge is just a command of facts vs. ability to use them. How much of a base of what kind of knowledge do we need to make interpretive synthesis?

Van Den Boogaard – Research what the user is doing and where he is taking his culture.

People are using media many hours a day, so you need to have a picture of what the user is doing. How are they using it? What are they using it on? Who recommends it to them?

Van Den Boogaard – Some people know how to digitize, but they don’t have a clue about how to present it in a way that people will use it.

Van Den Boogaard – If you look at where people are getting their movies/music/books, it’s peer-to-peer downloading. The libraries should be where the people are getting their products. It can be tricky.

Tennant – The Flow – the trend of communication being in the flow (Twitter). If you’re not there watching it, it can be hard to go back and get it.

The flow gets trapped in your inbox, but it’s there.

Journals publish papers as they become ready to publish. They let them our right away.

What do we do about capturing information that are parts of this flow? Scholars may way to study the communication that happened as events unfolded (ex. Iran election.)

Tennant – The Cloud – GoogleOS – Designed to get the user on the web right away. So many applications already live on the web.

Many server rooms will go away. Trend of software as service. Shift in staffing.

Reallocate people to have more interactions with real users.

Tennant – The Rain – Tough economic times. Think carefully about how to cut wisely.

Audience Comment: Semantic web – There seems to be an ability to organize everything, but the metadata structure behind it doesn’t seem to be able to support it.

Tennant – I’m not a fan of what’s called "the semantic" web. Too overblown.

New term : link to data. If we can expose data in away that it can been linked to other data, then we’re on the way.

Additional Reading:

ALA Conference 2009: Top Provocative Tech Trends from Library Journal

ALA Inside Scoopthe Blog for American Libraries

LITA’s Top Technology Trends at PLA Blog

LITA’s Top Tech Trends at David Lee King

The Monday Muse: Top Tech Trends at Libraries Interact

Top Technology Trends Today at Troy, Michigan, Public Library Tech Desk Blog

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Comments
  1. yolaleah says:

    I’m sad I missed this. I feel like next year I need to plan on going to more LITA stuff because the one session I attended was just plain brilliant. http://yolaleah.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/ala-2009-a-perspective/

  2. surferblue says:

    The LITA sessions often have a lot of interesting things happening. I had a chance to attend the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase this year, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That one will be a must next time around, even if I have to miss something else.

    http://surferblue.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/bigwig-social-software-showcase/

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