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TLA Conference – Net Fair – Keeping Up with Technology: Top Trends April 17, 2008

Filed under: Conferences,TLA 2008 — ellie @ 3:46 am
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This is the fourth year that we have examined the top library technology trends in the nation as well as Texas specifically. Learn what these top trends are and how they might impact your library in the near and distant future.
Richard Wayne, president, Strategic Information Management Services.

AKA Top Technology Trends for Texas (T4) Libraries.

Like all of the Net Fair events, this one was recorded. When I find out more about the availability of that audio I’ll add it here.

This presentation was by Richard Wayne from the UT Southwestern Medical Library. Richard manages the technology there and also does consulting, mainly with strategic planning and technology. He has posted his slides online since TLA is trying to go green. He also provided a handout for a related effort he’s working on with Lou Wetherbee – Information Darwinianism.

A bit of history – this is the 4th year in a row for T4. It’s sponsored by the Automation and Technology Round Table (ATRT). It has an accompanying article in the Texas library Journal which usually runs before conference, but this year it will run after. There will be elaboration in the article on all of the trends. The survey was systematic – not scientific. He read blogs, goes to conferences and seminars, reads literature and comes up with a list of trends – about 30. He uses his coworkers as guinea pigs to weed it down then uses Survey Monkey – a web based survey instrument – to analyze the results.

144 people answered survey. They self-identified their technical knowledge as 29%=high, 6%=low and 65%=medium. Library type – public=50%, academic=26%, school=19% and other/special=5%. Size of library correlates to staff and financial resources.

He went over them in order starting with the highest rated.

Trend #1 = Downloadable or streaming media – ebooks, videos, podcasts, lectures

We’re looking at a September 2007-August 2008 time frame when talking about these trends. There may be some overlap between them, but we’re getting an overview. Broad brush strokes are important.

They provide streaming audio for CE credits at his medical library. The Denver Public Library uses podcasts for storytelling. He polled the audience for how many used this trend and got just a few hands.

Trend #2 = Social Software – blogs, wikis, IM, Facebook, MySpace, Meebo, Twitter

IM hasn’t seen big use at his library. They’re going to try a widget. They have several blogs. Just a few hands for audience libraries with blogs. They are getting a moderate amount of feedback from blogs at his library. Many clients at the medical school are remote only, so it has been helpful.

Trend #3 = Open source ILS – Evergreen, Koha, VuFind

The first two have huge lines at their booths. The source code is freely available. Libraries are starting to modify these systems. He wrote an article comparing these two systems in Computers in Libraries. Vufind isn’t an ILS, more like search aggregator, also open source. It pulls data from disparate sources to one search result screen for the patrons. Getting popular also. Library OPAC meets Web 2.0.

Trend #4 – Information Commons

A few hands went up in the audience for libraries that currently had information commons, all academic. Info Commons combine computers, services, comfort. More than a bank of computers. a combo of services and comfort, a focal point for people coming in to the library.

Trend #5 = Gaming

A patron attraction? A lot of controversy about this. There are many interesting articles. Gaming sessions to get kids into the library, then encourage them to read, one way to get them in the library. [Editorial aside here – I’m against the whole idea of “let’s lure them in with games so we can trick them into reading.” Games of all varieties provide plenty of educational, recreational and entertainment benefits all on their own: teamwork, coordination, cognition, fine motor skills, problem solving, community building, even reading, and the list goes on. Have you ever really looked at how complex pokemon really is? OK, back to the recap.]

Trend #6 = Technolust

Don’t we really need to have some self-control? Shouldn’t technology add value? There should be a reason for it, not just to have the technology.

Trend #7 = MARC’s Death Knell

Embrace XML or such. LOC working group on the future of bibliographic control. A heated topic. People rethinking the longterm value of other data formats in the context of library information and data. Will be a long and controversial battle.

Trend #8 = Risk Tolerance

It’s OK to try things and even fail. Libraries are fairly traditional places that make sure they have every i dotted and t crossed before they introduce things. But we’re seeing from some successful commercial tools the idea of perpetual beta. We need to challenge the status quo, to be willing to take some risks and try some things in the library world.

Trend #9 (tie) = Mashups

Combining data from more than one source into an integrated tool. iGoogle, Yahoo! pipes. There are a large number of library pipes. Don’t need advanced skills. End user can create one in a few minutes.

Trend #9 (tie) = SUSHI – standardized usage statistics harvesting initiative

It’s Important to understand the usage of our electronic resources. What can we cut, add, change? No one in the audience had heard of SUSHI.

The remaining trends were:

  • kindle
  • iphone
  • open, shared databases such as freebase (I’m sorry – but who named that and do they not know of or not care about it’s more obvious drug related meaning?)
  • software as a service of SaaS
  • perpetual beta – it’s ok to release products before they are perfect
  • WorldCat Identities

Write in trends:

  • cloud architecture?
  • collaboration – regional circulation centers
  • distance learning
  • electronic resource management (ERM)
  • faceted browsing
  • federated searching
  • filtering
  • google – improved scholar and biomedical searching
  • improving lives with technology
  • Open ID
  • patron access programs?
  • physical reference collection – the death of
  • RFID
  • roving staff technology such as laptops
  • staff competency standards
  • staff excited about technology
  • staff technology training
  • upgrade issues – cost, challenges, personnel…