Increasingly radical rethinking of the catalog. What is it? Whatâ€™s in it? What do we need it to do? Does every library really to buy its own, or build its own â€“ or can we all work off of one Great Big Catalog In The Sky (or in Dublin, OH)? Questions that we answered in previous centuries are open for reconsideration and the one fair prediction is that the rate of change for catalogs will continue to go up.
Truly portable net access â€“ for real, this time. Being connected everywhere via a device you can carry around in your pocket has been a staple of tech predictions for years. But with a single demo this month, Appleâ€™s new telephone has rewritten the expectations of what such devices should be. Whatever its eventual name, the device currently called iPhone has enough Cool Factor, and will generate enough copycats, to get a lot more people online via handheld devices. And just by the way, if those devices know where the nearest Starbucks is, they should know where the nearest library is, and be able to connect users to that libraryâ€™s content and reference services.
Open source. Hey, this is Top Tech Trends, not Newest Tech Trends, right? Going with open source tools is no longer a matter of evangelism, but an increasingly mainstream strategic decision for libraries looking for the flexibility to build their own tools.
DRM follies. I donâ€™t know the details, I donâ€™t want to know the details, and Iâ€™ve got other things to do with my time than sort out mutually exclusive DRM regimes. But weâ€™re getting more and more situations where our usersâ€™ most common media player is an iPod and the content weâ€™re paying for works on everything but iPods.
Commercial digital content vendors want to stop making shiny discs and move to media-less files that canâ€™t be shared â€“ or collected, lent, and borrowed.