Top Tech Trends from Karen Coombs

Its Top Tech Trend time again. Every time I’m asked to come up with trends I sort of get a pit in the bottom of my stomach. How to choose trends?

  • Should I choose tech things that have changed they way I think about technology this year?
  • How specific or narrow should my trends me?
  • How accessible to non-techies

Also, I worry about getting a diversity of opinions and people feeling they the trends the trendsters put forward are too general or obvious. Picking trend is hard for all these reasons, plus you don’t want to pick something that turns out to not really be a trend.

So, this time I’m categorizing my trends a bit.

My personal A-HA trend

Web applications which are extremely flexible, versatile and extendable. For me the app that has typified this in my work this year is Drupal. Drupal is a veritable swiss army knife which can be used in a variety of ways. I’m been playing with it for our library’s intranet, writing about using it as a library website CMS, and experimenting with using it for digital library collections. I’ve been nothing but impressed. And while this particular app my come and go, the idea that software should be built in this way is one which has made a distinct impression on me. It is influencing the way in which I’m asking my developers to build and what new software I’m choosing substantially.

The everyone’s going to say it but it needs to be said trend

Mobile technologies are changing society. They are here to stay, they are only going to get better with time, and we need to expect mobile devices to be a significant portions of our usage. Enough said.

The one which scares the sh!t out of me

The waking digital preservation nightmare Whether it is books digitized by Google, videos posted on the web, or Flickr photos the explosion of digital content for which there isn’t a clear curation plan has create a void which few libraries seem to be willing to step up and fill. Getting to know more about about digital libraries in the last year has given me a greater appreciate for just how difficult the job of preservation is. It goes beyond backing stuff up. You have to make sure the bits you started out with are the bits you currently have. You have to migrate file formats and technologies become obsolete and you have to make sure you have the right to migrate formats. There seems to be a serious lack of this taking place in commercial content sharing ventures.

The trend which I think may empower smaller libraries the most

Hosted supported open source software There is an increasing number of companies both in the library and non-library world providing hosting and support for open source software. LibLime and Equinox should be familar to folks now. But companies like CraftySpace (which provides Drupal-based website design and implementation), The Cherry Hill Company (Drupal – demo site), and incsub (which provides support and development for WordPressMU) as well as library consortia are getting in the game. This could change the game for smaller libraires causing a rise in the adoption of open source. Some consortia efforts worth noting in this arena?

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