Today I had the pleasure of watching as the LITA “Top Technology Trends” torch was passed to a new group of “trendsters” that included our very own Lauren Pressley. Top Technology Trends is a highly regarded semi-annual event at ALA where the top names in the library technology field predict next year’s top trends.
The panel this year was made up of all new names:
Amanda Etches-Johnson, User Experience Librarian at McMaster University
Jason Griffey, Head of Library Information Technology at University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Joe Murphy, Science Librarian, Yale University
Lauren Pressley, Instructional Design Librarian, Wake Forest University
David Walker, Web Services Librarian, California State University System
Each introduced one trend and then the panel posed questions and offered opinions on the trend. I thought they offered an interesting mix of ideas. David Walker thinks Discovery Systems are a major trend. He feels they will help facilitate and mature other trends, such as RSS. Amanda’s trend prediction involved the user experience in regard to interface interaction design. She focused on the mobile interface and the fact that, by necessity, they are designed to get the user what they need faster. One of the related trends she discussed is user analytics and where that might be heading. Joe discussed the effect that saturation of mobile technology is having on library services; everything from facilities (ie outlets) to pressure on staff. His concern was that every new thing we take on is a loss of something else, but we don’t want to compromise the soul of libraries. Lauren talked about augmented reality and cited the 2010 Horizon Report which predicts it will have widespread impact in the next 2-3 years. Finally, Jason talked about the tremendous trend that has taken off in the past year with the proliferation of mobile applications. Apple opened the App Store in July 2008 and there are now over 3 billion apps that have been developed. However, he predicts the death of the mobile app, maintaining that they will be replaced with the HTML 5 / CSS 3 standards.
The last part of the session was spent discussing another trendy topic: ebooks. Jason talked about 2 new products he learned about at last week’s CES Conference: Copia and Blio. Copia is a software platform that is attempting to produce a social experience but one where the reader interacts with the text of the book. Blio, which is not yet available, is a ebook reader that will try to enrich the reading experience where readers can “fully enjoy the subtlety of design originally intended by the publisher.” It was developed in partnership with Baker and Taylor.
A very interesting viewpoint was offered by David Walker who thinks that students have moved their research toward journals simply because they are readily available electronically. In his undergraduate days, it used to be easier to get a book than an article, so that’s what students used. Often in their research, undergraduates might be better served by a book because it provides a broader base. He believes that delving more deeply into ebooks could bring back parity. He thinks libraries have been overbuying into journals because they are available online. I don’t know that I had ever thought about the issue in this light, but it makes sense to those of us who have watched the research habits of students who routinely bypass print materials for whatever is available electronically. I’d be interested in hearing others’ thoughts on this!
My second big goal today was to find the book scanner vendor Atiz, which manufactures a book scanner that might work for us PLUS it is in our budget. Roz and I were given a demonstration and I think it could do what we need. After talking with several vendors whose scanners were double and triple our available funding, it was encouraging to discover a potential solution!
My favorite “networking” encounter came about this morning when Roz and I ran into Teresa Faust and Tina Kussey. They are doing great and it was wonderful to catch up with both of them since it has been years since I’ve seen them (although I am a facebook friend with Tina!). Tina and Teresa say “Hey” to all their old colleagues at ZSR. Teresa is happy to report that Vermont McDonald’s now serve sweet tea.
The weather report is calling for a wintery mix overnight in Boston, so please cross your fingers for the temperature to stay above freezing so we can have a non-stressful trip back to NC.