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Interview with Ken Varnum, Editor of “New Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know”

Ken Varnum as Editor book covers

For over the past two decades Ken Varnum has become a leading expert in library technology, focusing his research on discovery systems and library analytics.  He has lent this expertise once again as editor to two recently released titles from ALA publishers, the new LITA Guide New Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know and Beyond Reality: Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality in the Library. He is the Senior Program Manager at the University of Michigan and the editor of Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL). In our interview he provides his insights on the landscape of library technology, future challenges, and what he hopes his reader’s take away from his books.  What technology/technologies will have the largest impact on libraries in the upcoming decade? I think there are several intersecting trends that will continue to have an impact in the coming decade. The first is consolidation of metadata into increasingly…

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Interview with Ken Varnum

Ken Varnum, editor of Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL), kindly agreed to meet with me last month when he was in Denver for the 2017 LITA forum. We discussed his early exposure to technology, what he reads for fun, and his vision for the future of ITAL. Below is the interview in its entirety and a copy of the transcript can be found here. Tell me a little about your background. What did you study in school? Have you always been interested in technology? “Technology has been a thread through my interests since middle school when I learned BASIC and wrote highly simplistic games on my Atari 800. At Grinnell College, I received a dual degree in history and Russian language, with a lot of political science thrown in (probably a minor had Grinnell offered one). My interest was in Cold War relations and arms control. After a few years…

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Interview with LITA President, Rachel Vacek

What are your responsibilities as LITA president? The president is the chief spokesperson for LITA and works closely with both LITA’s executive director and the board of directors in identifying and promoting information technology issues that are of interest to the association in all kinds of libraries, both nationally and internationally. The president leads the board and executive committee meetings, and works closely with the 20-plus committees that serve the association, such as membership development, education, web coordinating, program planning, publishing, and financial advisory, to name a few. The president also coordinates with the appointed representatives to groups and associations outside LITA, keeps the board informed, and is a proponent for advocacy of library technology issues. The president, in conjunction with the board, also determines the strategic direction for the association and is able to create task forces as needed to put initiatives in motion. What are your goals for…