This is an unordered list of “top tech trends” from Library Land. Season to taste:
* Full-text data/information is increasingly available. Now this presents real opportunities (as well as challenges) for libraries. To what degree is surrogate description necessary when full-text indexing an option.
* Increasingly libraries are thinking about repurposing existing staff. “I know things are changing. What can I do to remain relevant?” Just asking the question says you are going in the right direction.
* iPhones & friends are coming in a bigger way, and user’s expectations will change accordingly. As a profession we enjoy words, and I wonder how we will provide services to such devices when we are unable to be verbose.
* Library catalogs are a hot topic. Even though I have been a bit more outspoken about catalogs than most people, I wonder whether or not this is something our patrons/users really care about. Hmmm…
* There is an increasing amount of vendor consolidation going on. It is too bad the library community is so small, otherwise the government would get involved. I think there needs to be greater amount of choice. The same thing goes for scholarly publishers. There is some value in competition.
* Ubiquitous networking. While the ‘Net is not everywhere all the time, it is getting closer. How will 100% all-the-time access to the Internet change the way we do business?
* XML is not a hot topic, but trend-wise I think increasing numbers of people will begin to see the advantages of it. It is so much more flexible than that “other” data structure.
* Yes, AJAX is all the rage, but how accessible are those interfaces to people with various physical disabilities? It is very difficult to serve two masters.
Eric Lease Morgan
January 16, 2007