Tech Trends 2007

Tech Trends, Midwinter 2007

One area that was greatly discussed during the two hour exchange was the ILS. Trendsters discussed open source, convergence of vendors and the fact that these are no longer boot strapped companies but ones that private investors think have value.

The top technology trend that are and will continue to have a great impact on library services are enterprise ILS services, outsourced services, green / sustainable building design including heat source pumps, RFID, gaming, and techno mobile vans .The recognition of “the library as place” and the need to recognize new sets of services is having the greatest impact on librarians. Librarians need to learn that their services are both virtual and place-centered. They need a forum with experts who can share trends that are changing services.

For example, there is a product called Goldfire. This is an innovation platform that indexes everything. As a matter of fact, this product was so good at indexing that a client had trouble stopping it from making a library out of every file on its global computing center. In another case, there is an E-Government initiative that used BEA’s middle ware technology. The entire county’s web platform is being run on this system where managers select a few templates and create content on the fly, but do not have information science experience or knowledge of subject headings so the entire system is being built and impacted from a lack of best practices. Ask Google about this – their building a book search module and they don’t even have a librarian or a library. Although subject heading are not new, it was the first time that a lack of library presence is being made up on the fly. Where were does Google get their subject headings? LC?

From a planning perspective, the top tech trend is the Wiki. It has the ability to capture project planning documents, support new training initiatives and expand staff’s vocabulary. During a facility planning exercise a public library technology director explained. Skeptical that the technology is useful for more then encyclopedic activities, he gave an example of how to use a Wiki. He said that they use it for creating agendas, allowing members to ask questions associated with the upcoming discussion, and enabling the team to capture post meeting notes. This was a eureka moment. The importance of the wiki and meta data still require some thoughts. This technology creates a natural opportunity for librarians to create readers advisory services, control outreach programs and capture strategic knowledge.

With more participation from new LITA members, the LITA Wiki will, over a few years, be a wonderful asset to learn and share from and more of a communication devise. It will be an asset that new librarians can browse and learn from in the years to come.

One last thing – top technology trends were – Wii (the impact of its playful interface will intersect with library user interfaces – hopefully soon), Wiki (new ways to capture and share knowledge), and Enterprise ILS systems vrs. Open Source – may the little guy win whenever possible and “The Long Tail” – Wired’s editor got it right – now start posting your knowledge even if one in a million can find it. When they do, there will be value. See you all in Washington…