The Annual Top 10 Trends Extravaganza

Top 10 Tech Trends

[This is always a great session. This year, the format was a little different and allowed for more time and discussion between the panel members and the audience. I liked the new set up, but I wished the panel members would have gotten a couple more minutes each. They were limited to five and Walt Crawford, as moderator, did a good job of keeping them within their limits. My comments are in brackets.]

Marshall Breeding
Clifford Lynch
Eric Lease Morgan
Andrew Pace
Karen Schneider
Roy Tennant
Tom Wilson
Walt Crawford, moderator

Andrew Pace

  • Findability – Our OPAC doesn’t suck anymore. Reworking the catalog is not a small fix, but a small piece of a larger puzzle.
  • How do we aggregate all the information out there? Right now the people who are aggregating data are not librarians. We need to start thinking about this.
  • Automatic classification and natural language entry points. [We really need to start thinking about this. Using natural language in searches is what everyone does. Every student I have ever helped wants to use natural language and I have to tell them which words to use. Why do people need to be told what sort of language they have to use?]
  • We are no longer the landlords of the information space that we once were.
  • Marshall Breeding

  • Solving the stinky OPAC problem. He does not think we have a lot of long term solutions or options. These are temporary fixes that we are doing.
  • More consolidation in the information industry. A fewer number of better products. More partnerships and outsourcing development among the companies.
  • [It is very dark in this room. You can see from the pictures that the lighting is bad. There is also no wifi available at all. It is really a shame that the division concerned technology can not have their meeting in a place with wifi.]
    Clifford Lynch

  • Fast IP connectivity availability. The underlying network is changing. Distributed storage, especially given the recent experiences of the Gulf Coast libraries.
  • Net neutrality. Internet at home is like cable television.
  • Data curation. Importance of data management in scholarship and it is starting to be a topic of discussion on campuses. [This really is something that librarians can take up as our area. We already think about preservation. We should be helping start this conversation on campus and, when it is started, we need to make sure that we are in the forefront of that discussion.]
  • Institutional repositories have been open source in the past but they are now being offered by vendors. This will allow more libraries to create repositories of their own that do not have the technology resources.
  • Sharing sites: Flickr etc. Are these sites for sharing or preservation? They are for sharing not preservation and this will have implications for institutions doing preservation.
  • Computational use of literatures. Large collections of text in digital form.
  • Karen Schneider

  • OPAC does continue to suck. Focus on findability is healthy and it is a recognition that we need to serve the user well. “The OPAC is not the center of the library universe,” but we spend a lot of time putting information into silos. [Is this really helpful? Why do we spend so much blooming time on the creation of silos? Karen really gets the point that we should be creating the OPAC with the user in mind at all times. I think if we actually did this, instead of just giving it lip service, that our OPACs would be better and useable.]
  • Managed open source. Open source takes commitment and support.
  • Privacy – Flickr, MySpace, Facebook – What are the implications for privacy in these tools?
  • Faceted Navigation – “any decent search engine for 2006 has faceted navigation.” Endecca as the example.
  • eBooks – Sophie and the Institute of the Future of the Book. Traditional narrative with user commentary.
  • Graphic Novels – Graphic novels are becoming a dignified format
  • Eric Lease Morgan

  • Voice Over IP – could slow the abuse of email – will enable us to have phone conversations for free to anywhere in the world
  • Blogs and Wikis as the norm instead of the exception. What are the preservation issues? Technology is often married to the content.
  • Social Networking sites – ways to communicate and exploring identity online
  • Open Source ideas are influencing other things.
  • Metasearch is not living up to its expectations because there are too many variables.
  • Mass digitations will change the way we work. What is the role of library if everything is online?
  • Licensed content and digital management schemes are not going away.
  • Discontent with library catalogs – findability – the users want to do more than just get it. They want a community and information sharing ability in the catalog. It can contain more than books. The library can include anything in the catalog. [How does this intersect with federated searching? If everything is in the catalog, then there would be no need for federated searching. Vendors would have to let us pull their content in the ways we choose for this to work.]
  • Tom Wilson
    55 years ago today CBS broadcast the first color show ever. How far we have come.

  • Everything we do is an interim solution. The phrases we use reflect what we are thinking are important. We need to talk the language of interim solutions. We need to stop looking at the catalog and say “This is the solution” because it is only an interim solution. [Yes, we should always be striving to do things better. We should never stop trying to improve our libraries and ourselves. The day we kick our feet back, rest on our laurels, and stop looking for new solutions is the day we need to find new jobs.]
  • Systems we provide access to should not be viewed as monolithic. We should spend less time teaching things that do not work and more time fixing things. [I would love to be able to not teach tools and to teach actual research skills instead.]

  • Roy Tennant

  • Next generation finding tools – Our gaze should not rest on the solutions we are coming up with. Our users are interested in finding things in more than one place. Federated searching is important. It does not work perfectly, but it is important for us to do. [I agree.]
  • Rise of filtering and selection – Publishing has been transformed by technology. Anyone can write and then anyone can read it. Everyone can be a publisher. This is both good and bad. We need to help people navigate. People do not want to drink from a fire hose, they need something smaller.
  • Rise of micro communities – internet allows people with really arcane interests to find each other. How can libraries serve these communities well? The things that enable them are things that we have trouble with. They are not bound by geographic lines and in many cases we still are. [What do we need to think about doing to meet these people in the places in which they already reside? I think we need to give careful thought to the presence we have on the web. What kinds of resources and services do we have for people online only?]