LITA Top Technology Trends

This is going to have to be more of an experiential post than a factual one, I’m afraid… I attended the Top Tech Trends session and it held my attention throughout the whole thing – everything did. From the larger than life images of Karen Coombs and Sarah Houghton-Jan on one screen that flanked the live panel to the scrolling meebo chat room on the other screen, there was a lot to pay attention to!
Karen and Sarah have already written up their trends on this very blog, so I see no point in duplicating their efforts – they can say it much better than I can anyway!

As for the rest of the panel, Marshall Breeding started off with a discussion of library automation and open source. He mentioned the OPAL project (K-12 Automation? It was linked from the chat room, but I can’t find it now…) as well as the fact that public libraries are doing more open source stuff than academic libraries are right now. He also mentioned a multi-institution project from Duke University that will be open source as well. Changing the subject a bit, he mentioned the Berkeley Accord – an open data, ILS interoperability effort – as part of a trend toward data interoperability. He finished with a warning to inspect any open source claims – they are being used as marketing pitches now!
Karen Schneider talked briefly about open source as well, but said that Marshall had pretty much covered her points on that subject. She discussed the need for broadband – no matter how much we have, we always need more – and the fact that librarians are starting to write their own software again. She concluded with some thoughts about Journals and open access, but my notes are sparse here – must have been distracted by the chatting…

Sarah’s bit was next, followed by Clifford Lynch who first wanted to react to the comments about open source that previous panelists had made. He asked that we be smart about it and not overreact in any one direction – it’s not necessarily a panacea for us! He went on to discuss his trends, after that. He pointed out that economic pressures will be forcing a move toward virtual organizations and collaboration – travel is getting too expensive! He touched on Net Neutrality as well, broadband issues that are being discussed today will be affected by this debate. He mentioned cloud computing and the privacy issues involved with having our data in the “cloud” as well as the trend toward libraries and cultural heritage organizations putting their collections in places other than inside their buildings (Flickr, etc.). He finished by talking about information overload.

Karen responded to comments at that point by saying that, in the case of disparate levels of innovation in libraries (in response to Sarah’s trend talk), this also exists within large libraries. Different departments or units may be far more innovative than others.

Roy Tennant came next and he contends that this is an age of experimentation and of surprises. He also said that we need to get really good at extracting data from our own systems. He finished with the observation that we all need to take responsibility for our own professional development and learning. There was a question at that point about how library schools can help with this – his answer was that they really can’t. Either you are embrace change and innovation or you don’t. Concepts and theory can be taught to *help* with innovation and learning, but that’s about it.

Merideth Farkas was next. She thinks that social software should have a role in collecting local knowledge – and that libraries should be collecting this information as well! She also discussed the notion of the library as a creative technology lab for patrons. She finished up with the idea of libraries archiving blogs as historical data.

John Blyberg followed Merideth and he started his list with green tech in libraries. He continued with a discussion of the semantic web. He also touched on converged media hubs for libraries to allow users to access their gadgets at the library. He finished with a discussion of the library as a content creator – not just a content archive.

Karen did her trends next, followed by Eric Lease Morgan. He feels it is going to be very important to provide access to the data that supports articles in journals – not just the articles. He also discussed mobile devices, web APIs and the fact that library sites need a blog.

Karen Coyle was the last panelist to speak, and she talked about catalog and journal searches should be able to be performed from a mobile phone interface. She also thinks that the future of bibliographic control will be a big mash-up, with no input from libraries (like Amazon now gives more bib info than most libraries do). She also thinks that libraries need to foster user-to-user interaction.

There was some more discussion about the kind of people/skills needed to bring us forward – I think it was a question from either the audience or the Meebo room. Eric answered that systematic as well as creative thinking will be required. Merideth said that being willing to question everything, being intolerant of things that don’t work and being patient enough to make stuff work was going to be ideal. Karen Schneider said that we’ll need people who are impatient with mediocrity.

Whew! That was an information-packed session, with lots going on, and I know I didn’t capture half of it!!

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