Top Technology Trends

Top Tech Trends for ALA Annual, Summer 2009

This is a list of Top Tech Trends for the ALA Annual Meeting, Summer 2009. Green computing The amount of computing that gets done on our planet has a measurable carbon footprint, and many of us, myself included, do not know exactly how much heat our computers put off and how much energy they consume. With the help from some folks from the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Research Computing, I learned my laptop computer spikes at 30 watts on boot, slows down to 20 watts during normal use, idles at 2 watts during sleep, and zooms up to 34 watts when the screen saver kicks in. Just think how much energy and heat your computer consumes and generates while waiting for the nightly update from your systems department. But realistically, it is our servers that make the biggest impact, and while energy consumption is one way to be…


Eric Lease Morgan's Top Tech Trends for ALA Mid-Winter, 2009

This is a list of “top technology trends” written for ALA Mid-Winter, 2009. They are presented in no particular order. Indexing with Solr/Lucene works well – Lucene seems to have become the gold standard when it comes to open source indexer/search engine platforms. Solr — a Web Services interface to Lucene — is increasingly the preferred way to read & write Lucene indexes. Librarians love to create lists. Books. Journals. Articles. Movies. Authoritative names and subjects. Websites. Etc. All of these lists beg for the organization. Thus, (relational) databases. But Lists need to be short, easily sortable, and/or searchable in order to be useful as finding aids. Indexers make things searchable, not databases. The library profession needs to get its head around the creation of indexes. The Solr/Lucene combination is a good place to start — er, catch up. Linked data is a new name for the Semantic Web –…


Top Tech Trends for ALA (Summer '08)

Here is a non-exhaustive list of Top Technology Trends for the American Library Association Annual Meeting (Summer, 2008). These Trends represent general directions regarding computing in libraries — short-term future directions where, from my perspective, things are or could be going. They are listed in no priority order. “Bling” in your website – I hate to admit it, but it seems increasingly necessary to make sure your institution’s website be aesthetically appealing. This might seem obvious to you, but considering the fact we all think “content is king” we might have to reconsider. Whether we like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover, and people do judge other’s on their appearance. Websites aren’t very much different. While librarians are great at organizing information bibliographically, we stink when it comes to organizing things visually. Think graphic design. Break down and hire a graphic designer, and temper their…


Top technology trends: ALA Mid-Winter 2008

Here, listed in no priority order, is a set of top technology trends/predictions for fellow librarians to chew on during the ALA Mid-Winter Meeting, 2008. The use of Linux as a server platform as well as a desktop platform will increase – The latest version of Windows seems to have gone over like a lead balloon. Institutions still have server-class needs. Add these two things together, and you will see more IT shops considering and adopting Linux for their operating system. At a much slower pace, Linux will increasingly appear on user desktops because retailers are selling dirt-cheap computers with Linux pre-installed. Ubuntu, a particular Linux distribution, gets rave reviews for its user interface. Clean. Easy to use, and easy to learn. As Linux becomes more predominant, so will the concept of open source software, and that is an additional ball of wax that has already been mentioned numerous times….

General information

The "original" MyLibrary

In the news recently has been talk about Google’s “my library”, well, don’t hesitate to visit the “original” MyLibrary, now hosted at The home page is complete with bunch’s o’ documentation, sample scripts, descriptive text outlining what MyLibrary is (and is not), mailing list administratativia, links to sample applications and production-level applications, etc. The whole thing lives on top of WordPress. MyLibrary is not an application as much as it is digital library framework and toolbox. MyLibrary is about creating relationships between the three primary entities of libraries: 1) information resources, 2) librarians, and 3) patrons. It does this through the management of an institution-defined controlled vocabulary of facets and terms. By classifying resources, librarians, and patrons with facet/term combinations MyLibrary can address things like: As a librarian, my collection includes… As a patron, my databases are… People like me also use… Other resources like this include… If you…

Top Technology Trends

"Sum" Top Tech Trends for the Summer of 2007

Listed here are “sum” trends I see Library Land. They are presented in no particular order: 1. Gaming and Second Life – I hear a lot of noise about gaming, Second Life, and libraries. Hmmm… I consider librarianship to be about a number of processes surrounding data, information, and knowledge, specifically: 1) collection, 2) organization, 3) preservation, 4) dissemination, and 5) sometimes evaluation. I also consider the intended audiences for these processes in my definition. Oftentimes these audiences determine the types of libraries where the processes are carried out: academic, special, public, school, etc. Notice that I did not outline “how” these processes get accomplished. Since the “how” of these processes changes over time and with changes in technology, I do not think any “how” defines the core of librarianship. (Librarianship is not about books, MARC records, nor even Web pages because these are merely tools of the profession.) That…

General information

Leading a large group

The other day someone asked me about how we here at Notre Dame managed a team of 28+ members in regards to our one-year institutional digital repository pilot project ( I did my best to address their questions, and I thought I would copy my reply below. It might prove useful in your setting. (Then again, it might not.) Someone asked: > I wonder if I might ask you a question or two about > your Team IDR, please? One of the first things on my > to do list is to create an implementation team, and > I’m finding that huge numbers of people should > ideally be included one way or the other. Your full > team was a large one (appendix A). Do you have any > sage advice on how to coordinate such a large team? > Did you have a smaller, core working team? Any…


Unordered list of "top tech trends"

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…

Top Technology Trends

Building the "next generation" library catalog

How will we, the library profession, build the “next generation” library catalog, and to what degree will the process include vendor support and open source software? I must admit that there are few things that do not succeed over time without some sort of commercial interest. Think OCLC. JSTOR. Even NOTIS. The only exception to the rule seems to be when government subsidizes the process. Be that as it may, I will still advocate a large dose of grass roots efforts lead by the library community exploiting open source software over something created by a commercial institution. At least for now. Moreover, when your fellow librarians say things like, “We tried those ‘homegrown’ systems a long time ago, and where are they now? We need vendor-supported software”, I can give you a number of reasons why this is not necessarily the case in today’s environment: 1. Computer hardware & software…

General information

A "Next generation" library catalog – Executive summary (Part #1 of 5)

This is the Executive summary of a text outlining an idea for a “next generation” library catalog. In two sentences, this catalog is not really an catalog at all but more like a tool designed to make it easier for students to learn, teachers to instruct, and scholars to do research. It provides its intended audience with a more effective means for finding and using data and information. The full text of this document formatted as a single HTML page is available at: Executive summary People’s expectations regarding search and access to information have dramatically changed with the advent of the Internet. Library online public access catalogs (OPAC’s) have not kept up with these changes. The proposed “next generation” library catalog is an attempt to address this phenomenon. It’s design less like a “catalog” — an inventory list — and more like a finding aid. It contains data as…