LITA Top Tech Trends 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

1:30 p.m.

WCC Ballroom B

Moderator – Gregg Silvis, Chair of the LITA Top Tech Trends Committee and Assistant Director for Library Computing Systems, University of Delaware

Panelists

John Blyberg

Assistant Director for Innovation and User Experience, Darien (CT) Library.

http://www.blyberg.net

 

Lorcan Dempsey

Vice President, OCLC Research and Chief Strategist, OCLC.

http://orweblog.oclc.org

 

Jason Griffey

Head of Library Information Technology, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

http://www.jasongriffey.net

Pattern Recognition

 

Monique Sendze

Associate Director of IT and Virtual Services, Douglas County (CO) Libraries.

http://www.DouglasCountyLibraries.org

 

Cindi Trainor

Coordinator for Library Technology and Data Services, Eastern Kentucky University Libraries.

http://citegeist.com

 

Joan Frye Williams

Information Technology Consultant.

http://jfwilliams.com

 

Panelists will speak on three types of trends: current, imminent (6-12 months), and long-range (3 years or longer).

Blyberg – Multilevel convergent media.

If we look at the way we consume media now on our various devices, content delivery is not one-dimensional.

Media and information are flowing in the context of what’s happening in the world around us. Ex. – Twitter.

Users (not manufacturers) are the ones who find ways to take advantage of new devices.

In the past convergent devices have been less effective than their component parts. Think about trying to write a term paper on an iPhone. You’re not going to do it, because it’s not the right device to do that kind of work.

With new devices such as the iPad, the quality of the convergent device is greatly improved so we can do things in a much more efficient way.

Convergent devices provide the opportunity for everyday people to connect to something larger.

Dempsey – Mobile

As we begin to provide services for mobile devices, it’s not a matter of mobilizing the existing array of services. It’s about how services can be reconfigured for this environment.

It also offers a way to connect the physical environment and the digital environment. How can we connect users in our physical spaces with new experiences? QR codes offer one possibility.

We can think about services in a new location-based sense. WolfWalk from North Carolina State University offers one example. Users can walk around campus looking through an app on their phones, and historical building information from the library archive is overlaid on what the see. (augmented reality)

Mobilization introduces microcoordination. We coordinate our activities at a much more fine-grained level (because we’re always connected). This changes the way we think about space because people need to meet in a more ad hoc way. We need better ways of microcoordinating and the facilities to do that.

If you have a lot of devices, you can do a lot of creative things. Things move up to the cloud because you want your content to be available on every device wherever you are. You don’t want to be tied to a particular machine.

Griffey

For the majority of the life of the library, the material we bought has been tied to a container, and that container provided the user interface. Increasingly what we purchase is no longer in a container: it is information without an interface. We’re having to purchase or build the interface to interact with the information. Over the last few years we’ve been trying to give people mobile containers because of the increasing use of mobile devices.

The next big drive will be in the area of touch-based interfaces. This is happening because of touch-based phones, the iPad, and the upcoming devices that will follow the iPad. These have changed the way we have interact with things things that contain information.

People who have used iPads describe them in emotional ways. People are emotional about books because we interact with them in a tactile way, and there is a connection when we touch them. Interfaces like the iPad give us that back. Touch-based interfaces give us unmediated access to the content: there is no mouse or pointer between us and the content.

As more touch-based interfaces emerge, that will be the method by which younger generations interact with information.

Sendze

We will see a lot of new devices making their way into libraries. The differences will be in the software and applications.

Libraries are still in the infancy stage of interacting with mobile technology, but the commercial sector is already doing this very well.

Libraries are going to have to adopt a different approach from that used in dealing with library catalogs in terms of having disjointed interfaces. We’re going to move really quickly with the software and applications for mobile platforms in order for us to be relevant.

Users aren’t coming to us because of mobile devices; they’re coming to us because of the experience.

Will there be a time when we don’t have public access computers and provide instead a platform for users to interact and have a library experience? People are coming into the library with their own devices, and they want to access our content. The hardware will not be an issue.

The iPad changed the mobile platform because of the user experience. Will we be able to get to the point in our libraries where we are using mobile devices to interact with patrons? (Ex. circulation transactions)

We need to develop a mobile strategy so we will continue to be relevant to our users.

Trainor

We’re undergoing a transformation of libraries from places where users have to figure out where to go depending upon what they want (ILL, etc.) to places of "You ask for it, we get it.

This has implications for library workflows, tools, and user-centeredness. Services should be user-centered rather that fitting workflows around the tools that we happen to have.

How do you get patrons to things that you don’t own? Some libraries are experimenting with putting MARC records for all e-books offered by their vendors into the catalog. If the library doesn’t own the item a patron needs, there is an option to purchase. Collections are more patron-driven.

Williams

I don’t track technology. I track human behavior, cultural changes, and follow the money. I look around and see what kinds of implications that might have for library technology.

The recently-failed economy was driven centrally and included a lot of lawyers, bankers, and accountants. Local governments seem to be interested in the "creative economy." There is a lot of talk about cities and counties thriving by attracting people in creative disciplines. The model for a creative economy tends to be individualized small business – typically home-based – entrepreneurial, and hyper-local.

How can libraries intersect this particular trend? Libraries are well-positions as incubators for "creatives," because they have great bandwidth, they’re media-rich environments, and they’re already established as meeting places.

There are implications for our workflows around what business we think we’re in, what environment we’re creating, and how we support that technologically.

The biggest challenge right now is to create workspaces that support creativity and innovation with all of its mess and iteration. If our technologies are deployed around discovery and transport, and if we assume that delivery of content is the end of our story, we’re hard-pressed to imagine a workspaces that supports a messy, iterative, studio creative process. But that’s where the money is.

We need to stop being the grocery store and start being the kitchen.

This is not a real change from our current capacity; it’s a change in emphasis. We think our work is done when we deliver content. We don’t provide the tools for people to work People go home and don’t always have the tools to work with the content.

As we design new workspaces, we have to consider the new ways in which people work. It’s not all with perpendicular monitors. The iPhone, iPad, Microsoft Surface, and similar touch-based technologies are even changing lighting requirements. Architects have never even considered these new ways of working.

I see a real problem with how we collect and manage creative content. The way people in creative areas access their content seldom has to do with topical descriptions. We have a lot of technique around how WE find stuff, but that’s not the work that’s going forward, and we need to support that too.

Question from Sendze to Blyberg

How confident are you that we’ll get to a point where things are so platform-independent that they all play well with each other.

Blyberg – I don’t think they have to play well together. Individuals need to find the devices that best fit their lives and create their own information frameworks based upon their needs and interests. That’s why the marketplaces isn’t just iPhone. These devices are just portals into what’s going on in our world.

Griffey

The way people are designing apps for the iPad is starting to take into account the ways in which people work collaboratively.

Williams

3D home fabrication. The line is blurring between information about a thing and the thing. The library world has moved in some disciplines toward collection, distributing, and manipulating shop drawings, CAD files, art. We need new ways to think about, organize, and manage the rights and re-versioning of the things.

In the future we’ll need to know a lot more about how things move from a set of descriptions to the object itself. We’ll need to know more about how that will be managed and retrieved.

Ex. Architects look at shapes. We don’t bring a design sensibility to the way we organize things. We don’t tag by shape. There is room for a new type of information that is a step in the manufacturing flow.

Trainor

Facebook – Anonymity and open-source

As more people (non-techie people) begin using emerging technologies, the conversations around these social tools are changing.

Who is responsible for preserving the new collective knowledge being created online? This content can’t be bought and owned by a single or even multiple libraries. For example, the Facebook terms of service states that contributed content belongs to Facebook. Will we be able to go back and look at this Facebook content in 100 years?

Sendze – Changes in the way IT as a function is delivered.

When technology started coming into libraries (especially 2.0 technologies), there was a shift in what librarianship was going to be. We all had to redefine what it was going to be.

Cloud computing is going to redefine the way we use our back room IT staff. We have situations where entire infrastructures are being hosted in the cloud. A lot of my infrastructure is already in the cloud. My web services are with Amazon. My backups are in the cloud.

IT is going to have to become embedded in the day to day work of the library. They’re no longer going to have to be the back room people.

Griffey

There are currently two main classes of e-readers: e-ink devices such as the Sony Reader, the Kindle, and the Barnes & Noble Nook; and LCD devices such as the iPad.

The prices of e-ink devices (Kindle, Nook, etc.) are plummeting. By this time next year we’ll probably see $50 e-readers.

"How does it change our acquisitions and our materials processing and our circulation when you can purchase an e-reader for under $50 that has the entire western canon on it for free?"

How do you change the model for providing books for an intro to literature class when you can buy a device that has every book the students will read and the content doesn’t cost anything?

At this price point, e-ink devices become almost disposable. At the same time there is a rise in LCD and OLED displays. The new iPhone display is 326 dpi. This is literally better than the quality of most printed magazines. This technology can eliminate some of the problems that people have noted with electronic displays because the quality is literally better than print.

These types of screens will allow us to display things and provide content in ways that were never possible before.

The 2011 iPad will probably have Apple’s new Retina Display. On the low end we will have disposable e-ink devices.

Dempsey

There is a lot of interest in what is currently called the discovery layer. Over the next few years they will change the character of how we look at the library collection. As these services represent as much of what is available as possible (licensed materials, books, digitized materials), they will come to be seen by users as the full library collection. The library collection will be what is available through the discovery layer. This will push the integration of other services. You could also see Google Book material, ILL services, and a variety of other services.

Once you reach the point where these services are part of the library offering, more patron-driven options begin to emerge. You can present a "possible collection" through the discovery layer, and behind that decisions are made about whether to acquire things based on patron demand and discovery.

Blyberg

Open source library systems

If you have something really successful you see instant returns, and you see them fairly quickly. But you get to the point where successes plateau, and everything gets quite a bit harder. At that point you have to decide whether to quit or keep going.

The next 6-12 months is a period of a dip for open source software in 4 areas: technical, logistical, financial, behavioral.

Logistical – A lot of libraries have migrated to open source systems in the last year – so many in fact, that they’re going to have trouble finding support. There are a limited number of support agencies, but this mass exodus from proprietary to open source systems has really overburdened the existing support system.

Technical – The open source alternatives available right now don’t really go toe-to-toe with proprietary alternatives in terms of feature sets. That’s okay in the short term, but in the long term this lack of functionality may be compounded into other problems.

Financial – We’re coming to the end of first- and second-round grant funding for open source implementation, and there’s no guarantee that the money will still be available in the future.

Behavioral – I think that the open source community has a way to go before it reaches the point where it can participate professionally in discussion about what open source is and can be. Ex. A paper critical of open source was leaked last year, and the response from the community was less than professional.

This is sort of a natural process on the way to becoming a significant contributor.

Griffey

4th generation mobile infrastructure will be in place in 3-5 years. 4G will give a minimum of 100 megabits per second to cell phones. It will be like walking around with an ethernet cord in your pocket. We don’t really know yet what we’re going to do with this level of bandwidth, but it gives us an unprecedented ability to send/receive information quickly.

Researcher Masatoshi Ishikawa has developed a scanner that allows high-speed book scans simply by fanning the book pages in front of the camera. When asked about where he thought the technology would be use, Ishikawa replied that it would be use by cell phones.

What kind of world will it be when we have ubiquitous high-speed Internet access coupled with a device for which print is digitally available at any moment? Combine this with Google Translate . . .

Google Translate – Take a picture of words in another language, Google OCRs it, and gives it to you in the language of your choice.

Sendze

Profiling and the death of Internet anonymity

Search engine and other online companies are collection a lot of information about users and doing a lot of data analysis as well as commoditizing it. In contrast, libraries collection a lot of patron information, but we have policies for purging it. We really don’t hold onto patron data. It seems that our users are willingly giving a lot of information to online entities for what the users perceive as their own benefit. We have the same data on our users, but we’re not mining it or using it. I see an Internet that will offers ways to present content to users before they even know exactly what they want. Will this change the way we think about privacy in libraries?

Does the library have a better reputation for protecting privacy than companies?

Our users want us to offer better suggestions. They want us to present content that might be useful to them based on their profile. This could transform the way we look at patron privacy.

Trainor

The era of physical copy scarcity is over. What will be the rare and valuable things in the future?

It’s up to libraries to help provide access to whatever these rare and valuable things will be and to help patrons navigate that landscape.

What is the role of the instruction librarian when a lot of students interact with the library through the website? What is our role when we no longer have face-to-face interactions at all?

Williams

The information industry is evolving in ways that mimic the energy industry. There are interesting relationships between those who supply and those who distribute. Libraries have primarily been involved on the distribution side of information while the supply side has been globalized.

Many libraries are trying to attain clean information systems. But we’re all vulnerable to spills. What is the analogy to an spill? Massive loss of access. Massive data corruption. Government crackdowns after an incident that limits access to information.

Could there be a possibility of war of over preserving the information supply from a strategic partner who controls information that we didn’t create?

Is it possible to position libraries as strategic information reserves?

Blyberg

Two external elements pushing against libraries: Visual content and our access to it; the economy.

We’re going to enter a phase where libraries need to admit that they’re very inefficient. That will make us look at what our overhead is on backend processes. Some of these backend processes can be automated and made much more efficient.

Dempsey

Libraries have spent a lot of time managing the complexity of multiple streams of resources. Systems for bought materials, licensed materials, repositories for digitized materials, etc. This means that there is a lot of time spent on overhead activities and less time on managing the relationships with users.

Users are finding ways to get what they want in CONVENIENT ways.

Perhaps some of the ways libraries manage supply don’t have the same value or relevance because the supply channels are simplifying and users are finding content elsewhere.

There are a variety of areas where the library wants to make sure that their constituency uses information effectively.

Library systems don’t rate, recommend, and relate things in the same ways that consumer systems do. We need better ways of doing this in library systems, because users expect it.

Embedding resources in the environments in which people need them.

Services that connect your workflows to library resources.

Good search optimization techniques.

 

The liveblog for the session is available here.

 

The LITA blog writeup is available here.

 

The video of this session is available here.

 

You can read the American Libraries writeups here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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LITA Top Tech Trends 2009

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

Top Tech Trends pt. 2

During LITA‘s annual Top Tech Trends program, and number of experts are invited to offer comments on what they view as some of the trends to watch. A few highlights are listed below. In some cases these may be paraphrased, and in others they may be direct quotes. For more detail, check out the podcast listed on the LITA blog.

Marshall Breeding

Open source trends in library automation

For a couple of decades things have been done in a certain way by a certain set of vendors. Open-source has fundamentally changed this. Libraries have perhaps been underserved by their vendors.

Open source ILS options: Koha, Evergreen, OPAL.

Although a number of libraries are moving towards an open source ILS, there is much more action in the public side than on the academic. The number of academics moving to open-source systems is much smaller than the “swell” of public libraries moving in this direction. It may take another year or two before we start seeing greater involvement on the part of academics.

Instead of traditional licensing arrangements, the emerging model is support of open source with contract programming, moving the focus of the revenue from the licensing side to the services side.

There is also a move towards open data.

ILS Discovery Layer Interface Committee – Working on standards that define interoperability between library automation systems and the new generation of front-end interfaces.

The Berkeley Accord
Some automation vendors have already signed on as part of this project.

Anyone developing library automation software has to respond to libraries’ demands for more openness.

Openness is great, but beware of the marketing pitch. Read the fine print, be skeptical, look deep. Are things as open as the vendors portray them? Are they doing tings that really deliver new value through openness?

Karen Schneider

Open-source
“You know that open-source is viable because people make money at it.”

Broadband – We never have enough of it, and we seem to be in a perpetual cycle of catch-up. These limitations drive library policy and practice. Some libraries can’t explore certain initiatives because their broadband simply won’t support it. No federal broadband strategy.

Open-source – We have come full circle with our automation history. Librarians are now writing their own software, charting their own destinies.

Sarah Houghton-Jan

Now people have faster Internet access at home than at libraries. The problem is multimedia. When you have a lot of people in libraries watching videos, playing online games, and streaming radio stations, you wind up with clogged bandwidth. (Probably more of an issue in public libraries than in academic?) More of IT budgets are going to be dedicated to broadband.

People talk a lot about things that are new and beautiful, but not so much about sustainability. At the outset, people are not thinking enough about how much effort it takes to sustain new projects. How many abandoned library blogs are out there? How many library myspace sites are not being maintained?

Libraries as organizations are not nimble. We need to look at how we make decisions and how we encourage innovation. Innovation is discouraged in many libraries. The structures and practices of our organizations create these barriers to innovation. Part of this is attibutable to the age-old librarians’ fear of failure. We can’t try anything new unless it’s been planned to death and it has already been tried in 80% of other libraries (so we’re pretty sure it won’t fail for us). Staff are hesitant to innovate because of the seemingly insurmountable multi-level bureaucracies. People don’t have the time in their workdays to think about innovation. Then trying to wade through the bureaucracy is a waste of time.

Clifford Lynch

There is a growing enthusiasm about open-source in libraries, the higher ed community in general, and cultural heritage organizations. Open source is wonderful, but it isn’t a panacea. There seems to be a widespread belief that by declaring something to be open-source, you can solve a widespread range of financial, technical, and design problems, that are otherwise insoluble.

After their enthusiasm, there is likely a coming backlash against open source as people try to calibrate on a realistic view the places where it solves effectively, the places where difficulty is conserved. You need to be smart about it. You need to not overreact in any direction about open source. You need to think about when open source makes sense, and when you’re just appealing to it to solve a problem that basically nobody knows how to solve in the first place.

Virtual Organizations – Concept from the ideas of cyber-infrastructure, collaboration across the network.

People need to be able to work together and set up work arrangements in a fairly agile fashion. There is a need to be able to do this in a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous ways. Real indications that travel will get more expensive and more difficult in the future. Besides fuel, airlines are dropping a significant amount of air transportation capacity. We’re going to find that a mixture of physical and telepresence will become more of the norm at meetings for participants and audience. (Cliff said that this was being handled pretty badly at this Top Tech Trends session!) Needs to get much better very quickly. Has implications for teaching and learning.

Network storage, cloud storage. This is starting to take off in a bigger way.

Move by libraries and cultural heritage institutions to make their digitized materials available outside the library in places suck as Flickr. This is a “letting go” of holdings so that they can be reused and so that they can be put into contexts that are valuable to people.

Information overload – Social networking systems/social software. How quickly and how severely will we run into overload situations? We’re already seeing early signs of this.

Roy Tennant

The age of experimentation – revealed through a number of different projects – VuFind, Scriblio, Extensible Catalog Project. People are taking control, experimenting, and trying to find out what might be usable techniques.

Game-changing surprises such as Google digitizing entire libraries.

Data – Everyone needs to get really good at extracting data from within whatever system it resides. ILS, ERM, etc. You will be throwing those systems away at some point, so you need to be able to get your data out. Even if you keep those systems, you need to be able to analyze your metadata: find missing elements, find bad elements, do transformations.

People – Take responsibility for your own professional development. Don’t expect training courses. Support people in the organization with the opportunity to learn what they need going forward.

Systems – Take control of your systems. Don’t be locked into an outdated version just because it’s so hard to upgrade. If it’s that hard, get out of that system.

Question for Roy: What can library schools do to help prepare students for an environment of constant technological change?
Answer: Good luck. The trouble there is that personality traits are needed rather than specific knowledge, and that is really hard to impart in library school. Either you’re the kind of person who loves change and loves to learn new things, or you’re the kind of person who likes to get comfortable in a position without having to learn new things. Library schools can’t really affect that. However, library schools can focus more broadly on concepts that can be applied in different technological situations: information retrieval, precision, recall. Those kinds of things last. Specific systems don’t last. However, it would be useful to teach people at least one specific programming language because that helps them talk to programmers. This is a role that librarians increasingly need to play.

Meredith Farkas

Social software – The role of social software in collecting local knowledge. Local wikis for cities. Why can’t libraries collect local knowledge to benefit everyone? Having a space to collect knowledge is very important. Libraries can be the online hub of local communities. This presence will in turn drive more visitors to the library website.

Libraries can provide an important technical and educational role in communities. Some libraries are doing extensive technology training in their communities. Example: The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County.

Archiving blogs as historical artifacts. Many of the real current library conversations are happening in blogs. Will this knowledge be preserved for use in future research? This could change the way we think about how we archive materials.

John Blyberg

Green technology – In 2005 American consumers dicarded 2.5 million tons of electronic equipment. Most contained some amount of toxic material. Manufacturers are coming up with new types of material that are more eco-friendly. Energy efficiency is also a rising concern. The Internet (and related computers, monitors, hardware) consumes about 350 billion kilowatts of electricity per hour in America. This is almost 10% of total energy generated in the U.S. Most of that power is wasted in toe form of heat generated and energy required to cool hardware. New devices/innovations for ultra-low voltage and heat abatement.

In the future conferences may be transformed by technologies that allow more and better virtual participation. Less physical presence also translates into less total energy consumed.

Semantic webNew Reuters API that adds semantic markup to unstructured HTML documents. As you do a search and refine the search, the software helps you locate other connections that you might not otherwise have found.

Converged Media Hubs
Portable media devices are actually mini-PCs, such as the iPhone. They can bring together a wide variety of content such as RSS feeds and live TV, and this is available in the palm of your hand. We may not be ready to accept the idea of reading books and watching entire movies on a handheld device, this drastically and fundamentally changes the expectations of our users when they look at us as information providers. Those who use these devices heavily customize their experience so that it’s tailored to their needs. This indicates that people are beginning to develop a very personal relationship with information. As users build these customized information frameworks, they begin to place a good deal of personal reliance on them. This puts in a position where we can help them do this.

The Library as Content Creator (not just content provider)
When users leave the library, they enter a world that is very highly produced. Highly crafted radio, television, and Internet experiences. Not necessarily highly crafted content, but definitely a highly crafted container. This creates an expectation from the users that their user experience will be well-presented and professionally developed. The problem is that users don’t appreciate it, they just expect it. When it works well, they take it for granted. When it doesn’t work well, they are highly judgmental, and they will disregard the content if the container is not up to their expectations.

Karen Coombs


APIs are becoming very important to libraries. Beyond just bibliographic APIs, libraries need to consider media sources such as Flickr and Blip.tv. These will enable libraries to pull data back from those media sources or make it possible for faculty to simultaneously upload content to the institutional repository and these media sources. Libraries have to find ways for faculty to put content in institutional repositories, discipline-specific repositories, and government repositories with a single submission. Repositories are a way for this to happen.

Virtual Participation
New facets to virtual participation. More experiences with people in a physical space and in a virtual space collaborating together.

Eric Morgan

With regard to scholarly publishing, it is no longer just about the article anymore. It’s about the data that supports the article. How are we going to collect and provide access to that data, and maintain it for a long period of time.

Mobile devices
Mobile devices will become more the norm. As libraries, how are we going to get our content onto these small screen.

Web APIs. these are the pieces that fuel web 2.0. This is a way to get your stuff out there.

It’s increasingly important to make sure that library websites have bling. People really do judge books by their covers. Libraries need more expertise when I comes to graphic design. We might know how to organize information bibliographically, but when it comes to organizing it visually, we stink.

Next-gen library catalogs/discovery systems
All of these next-generation type things are essentially indexes with services running against the index.

The next challenge for libraries is letting patrons use the content that they find. Finding content is not the problem. As libraries we can allow patrons to use the content in a different sort of way. The next gen catalog is a tool to do others things that are exemplified by action verbs: tag it, review it, annotate it, compare and contrast.

Libraries always serve a community: business, university, city, government. Your library will be able to provide services against your content better than Google can.

Karen Coyle

I want to be able to walk into the stacks and do catalog searches with handheld devices. The fact that when I’m in the library and have less access to resources than when I’m sitting at my desk at home is ridiculous.

What my job often is these days is that I’m paid to write reports you couldn’t pay me to read.

“The future of bibliographic control will be highly collaborative, decentralized, international in scope, and web-based. It will take place in cooperation with the private sector and users will be among the new partners who collaborate with libraries. Data will be gathered from multiple sources. ”

Paraphrase of the opening section of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control.
http://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future/news/lcwg-report-draft-11-30-07-final.pdf

The future of bibliographic control will not have control. It is not going to be a controlled future. It will be a gigantic mash-up. My fear right now is that if we don’t make some extreme changes, it will not involve libraries. Other people will be doing it, we won’t. And we won’t because it is going to be about linking, it is going to be about everyone having access to the data. The data has to be unencumbered and anyone can use it in any way they want. Right now it is easier to get bibliographic data from Amazon and from the publishers than it is from libraries. So if we don’t really get on the ball, the future of bibliographic control is not even going to involve us. There are a lot of things that we have to give up in order to allow this future to include us, one of them being that it no longer matters if the data/records we create for bibliographic data are the same.

Need to be able to offer the users the option to see other items that are similar.

The increase of user to user interaction.

More and more the institution is not going to be the focus of the interaction. As users can connect and interact with each other, that will be their choice. Libraries have to make sure that their content is available and accessible while users are interacting with one another.