Top Technology Trends at ALA Annual

Hi All,

I’m a student as Syracuse University attending my first ALA and am very excited to be able to blog the Top Technology Trends (TTT) Panel. I see the discussion has already started so I’ll try to keep this short, but there were a lot of ideas discussed. I am also going to break this into two parts- part one will be the presenters trends and part two will be the audience questions and discussion.

Marshall Breeding, the Director of Innovative Technologies and Research at the Vanderbilt University Library:

1. Library Automation

a. The changes in the marketplace especially those related to mergers have caused many libraries to reconsider their choice of provider and to look at open source products

b. New commercial companies are looking at ways of interfacing with open source products and creating new ways of thinking about automation and systems

c. Better front ends are being developed

John Blyberg, the Head of Technology and Digital Initiatives at the Darien (CT) Public Library

1. RFID- Improved front ends that increase circulation are going to require more supportive back ends, privacy concerns are minimal to non-existent

a. Walt countered that privacy is a huge issue, current technology may not be up to it, but future tech could improve datamining in undesirable ways.

b. Joan related a discussion that she had that groups are not worried about RFID in libraries, but are using libraries to have the debate

2. Vendor Interoperability- OPAC’s will be decoupled from the ILS creating a more modular ILS- Democratic approach to systems- pick and choose the best option for the job, however funding is needed for development

Karen Coombs, the Head of Web Services at the University of Houston Libraries:

1. End user as content contributor- Users are creating digital content (photos, video, etc.), but there is no guarantee that the material will be maintained where it is currently stored (Ex. Letters home from the military during earlier wars provide a great source of data about what is going on, but currently e-mail is not being captured)

a. Current capture technology is not suitable

b. Highlighted Picture Australia as an example of one way to solve the issue.

2. Digital as format of choice- Its easier since you don’t have to come to the library, E-books will take off when there is a decent reader

3. Line between desktop and internet is dissolving- Software doesn’t have to live on the computer anymore (Google Apps.)

Roy Tennant, a Senior Program Manager for OCLC:

1. Demise of the catalogue- The ILS will move to the backroom as portals offer access to materials in different formats on multiple resources

2. Software as a service- Servers will no longer have to be run in the library as the provider can host (and update) the software externally while providing customized front ends

3. Intense marketplace uncertainty- more support for open source, disruptive mergers and acquisitions, services need to be more integrated

Walt Crawford, the creator of Cites & Insights:

1. Privacy still matters- before we throw away confidentiality we need to consider if users really want us to be Amazon; federal datamining

2. Slow Library Movement- locality, library is part of the community; mindfulness, think not just do; Open source where open source works

3. Public Library as Publisher- larger libraries are already doing so and tools exist that make this practical

Joan Frye Williams, Independent Consultant:

1. End user focused technology- currently adopting technology as a retrofit rather then utilizing it to its full potential (ex. Cell phone as phone or cell phone as MP3 player, camera, text, etc.); fear of “I’m afraid they won’t love me if it’s too easy” and “Will there still be a library if I do this?”

2. Abdicating development responsibilities

3. The principle of self organizing systems- designing computing environment that can learn from itself; tendency to create something and then never change/update/evolve it