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How Emerging Trends and Technologies Will Affect the Library. John Burke ALAO SSIG Spring Workshop May 8-9, 2003. Coping and keeping up. Where’s the wind blowing? What’s new? How do I prepare? Will I be working in a library in 10 years? 5? Contrasting examples; stories that teach

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how emerging trends and technologies will affect the library

How Emerging Trends and Technologies Will Affect the Library

John Burke

ALAO SSIG Spring Workshop

May 8-9, 2003

coping and keeping up
Coping and keeping up
  • Where’s the wind blowing?
  • What’s new? How do I prepare? Will I be working in a library in 10 years? 5?
  • Contrasting examples; stories that teach
  • A list of lessons learned and steps to follow
library technology truths
Library technology truths
  • Dual technology needs: streamline our workflow and serve the public
  • Add popular technologies both by demand and proactively
  • We create our own systems on occasion
  • Budget pressures often slow changes
  • New items both replace and complement
  • Both products and processes
  • Computers are a key technology today, but not the only crucial one
failure the rudolph indexer
Failure – the Rudolph Indexer
  • View 175 catalog cards at once
  • 12,000+ cards in single indexer
  • Too expensive; never caught on
success shared cataloging
Success – Shared cataloging
  • MARC records
  • OCLC
  • Cooperation continues
technologies on the rise
Technologies on the rise
  • Handhelds – Palm Pilots, Pocket PCs, Cell phones, Tablet PCs
  • Wireless networking
  • Open source software
  • MP3s
  • DVDs
  • E-books
  • Full-text reference books and periodicals
what can we learn
What can we learn?
  • Three possibilities for each new technology:
    • Essential technologies that last (DDC, OPAC, etc.)
    • “Flashes in the pan” that never materialize (Rudolph Indexer, bubble memory, etc.)
    • Transitional technologies that have shorter lifespans (8-track tapes, records, etc.)
  • We hope to choose 1 early, accept 3 before it’s too late, and avoid 2 altogether
trends in society
Trends in society
  • 66% of Americans use computers at home or work (over 54% use the Internet)
  • Reading habits: more “scanning”
  • 90% of children and teens use computers
  • 50% of homes have DVD players
  • 42% of U.S. adults are not Internet users (Pew Internet Study)
thumb tribe
“Thumb tribe”
  • Technology  Society  Biology (?)
  • oyayubizoku – Japanese (or “clan of the thumb”)
how do we adjust to the trends
How do we adjust to the trends?
  • Mixed bag
  • Stress customer service
  • Patrons want self-suffiency
  • Patrons need guides and helpers
  • We need to be flexible – alter workflow, policies
trends in libraries
Trends in libraries
  • Nearly universal Internet access in public libraries
  • Graying of profession (63% of librarians are > 45)
  • Less spending on books, but higher circulation
  • Budget cutbacks
  • More and bigger electronic resources to buy
  • Audiovisual spending is growing
  • 24/7/365 access and assistance
  • Buildings – need flexible, tech-friendly spaces
  • Digital reference – chat, email
  • Focus on adaptive devices and web design
major issues to solve
Major issues to solve
  • Copyright
  • Confidentiality – USA Patriot Act, etc.
  • Access – “digital divide”
  • Library budgets
  • Archiving of digital resources (& long-term access)
  • One-stop access to resources – easy interfaces
  • More fee, less free resources
  • Spam, cyberterrorism, and the regulated Internet
  • Marketing the library, finding niches
  • Cooperation among libraries
where to turn
Where to turn?
  • It’s always been this way to some degree
  • Libraries must have a voice in solutions
  • Stay in communication
  • Stay a little behind, but still see who’s up front
  • Be informed (Technology Awareness Resources handout at www.users.muohio.edu/burkejj/)
a tale of two libraries
A tale of two libraries
  • Cerritos Library, Cerritos, CA (cml.ci.cerritos.ca.us/static.htm)
  • Oscar Johnson Memorial Library, Silverhill, AL (www.gulftel.com/bclc/bclibraries/silverhill.html)
what does our library need
What does our library need?
  • Know thy community
  • Consider the budget
  • Don’t fear change
  • Remember Truth #1
  • Take a few leaps of faith
visions of the future yesterday
Visions of the Future:Yesterday
  • Charles Ammi Cutter (1883)
  • The Buffalo Public Library in 1983
  • Guessed wrong:
    • Sprawling, many floored library
    • An army of uniformed pages
    • Scrupulously clean and dust free
    • Multiple “reading rooms”
  • Guessed right:
    • Fax machines, interlibrary loan, photocopying
    • Mass electric power
  • Based his thoughts on what he could see
visions of the future today
Visions of the future:Today
  • Raymond Kurzweil (2000)
  • The “Terminator” future
    • 2009 – wearable computers
    • 2019 – books are rarely used
    • 2029 – implants connect us to the Internet
  • Libraries fade away
  • Unabated development of technology
  • We’ll have to wait and see
vision 1 it s alive
Vision #1: “It’s Alive!”
  • Primary access to information is electronic
  • Most users access materials remotely
  • Private companies offer content and access equal to and beyond that of libraries – competition and outsourcing
  • Our interaction with the Internet and networked information sources becomes a single interface, perhaps voice responsive
  • Library cannot compete as a public space – home becomes central
vision 2 ozymandias
Vision #2: Ozymandias
  • Things fall apart: current tech cannot be sustained
  • Bleeding edge stops bleeding
  • Archival issues end e-resource use
  • Declining funds push libraries to print only
  • Terrorism makes networks unworkable
  • Libraries survive as they always have, and grow as centers of information and learning
  • A step back, or a step ahead?
vision 3 today tomorrow
Vision #3: Today & tomorrow
  • Public, academic, school, & special libraries
  • Near-universal Internet access (thanks to us)
  • Many electronic resources
  • Declining periodical collections
  • Growth of e-books and other publications on handheld devices
  • Remote access to resources is available, and growing in use
  • Library is still a vital spot for the community
the future for support staff
The future for support staff
  • Jobs increasing (66% of library workers now)
  • Workload shift continues (more formerly MLS-only duties)
  • Entry requirements increasing (in places)
  • “Graying” & retention issues
  • Opportunities to seek MLS (if desired)
  • Pay may rise, but slowly
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • Not all technology works as expected
  • It’s hard to know what patrons will want or need
  • Libraries face many concerns and choices
  • Not every library needs the same technologies
  • All visions are imperfect, but we need them
  • Consider the essentials of our work as you innovate
five new laws of library science
Five New Laws of Library Science
  • Libraries serve humanity.
  • Respect all forms by which knowledge is communicated.
  • Use technology intelligently to enhance service.
  • Protect free access to knowledge.
  • Honor the past and create the future.
  • Revised: Walt Crawford and Michael Gorman
further reading
Further reading
  • Gorman, Michael. Our Enduring Values. Chicago: American Library Association, 2000.
  • Wisconsin Library Services. New Tech News. (www.wils.wisc.edu/pubs/ntn/)
  • Burke, John. Neal-Schuman Library Technology Primer. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 2000.
questions or comments
Questions or Comments?

John J. Burke, MSLS

Assistant Library Director

Gardner-Harvey Library

Miami University Middletown

(513) 727-3293

burkejj@muohio.edu

http://www.users.muohio.edu/burkejj/