Professional Development

Sunday’s ALA Midwinter Roundup from Susan

Monday, January 23, 2012 9:08 am

Top Technology Trends Discussion

Top Technology Trends Panel Discussion: Lorcan, Demsey, Sue Polanka, Marshall Breeding, Nina McHale, Stephen Abram

Sunday was a day of sessions for me with the major one being the Top Tech Trends program. But it came after a day that began at a breakfast session sponsored by Sage (where our former colleague and friend Elisabeth Leonard was the moderator). The event was a big improvement over Saturday’s Ebsco *sales* event – Sage gave us an excellent hot breakfast and then put on a panel program that addressed various issues surrounding discoverability. They did it through a lens of the “scholarly ecosystem” that includes authors, publishers, librarians, and vendors. The panelists were Joseph Esposito (Publishing Consultant), John Sack (Hirewire), Barbara Schnader (University of California, Riverside), Mary Somerville (University of Colorado, Denver), and John Law (Serials Solution). Discussions covered broad topics including “what is discoverabiity?”, “who has the biggest stake in discovery?”, “how should each segment of the ecosystem contribute to discovery?” “are there good metrics for measuring discoverability?” and “what is the cost of discovery?” As you might imagine, there were different perspectives between the panelists but the topic that really seemed to get the highest level of attention was that everyone agreed there is a great need to improve the metrics. Where vendors look at metrics to drive traffic, libraries look at them to determine value. There was consensus that currently there is great difficulty pulling together data so that it tells a story that can help with decision-making.

The bulk of Sunday morning was devoted to helping make sure that things were set for the Top Tech Trends program. The venue was in the far reaches of the convention center in the oldest section of the building (built in the 1950s). When the AV wasn’t set up right, my assignment was to find the AV people and bring them to the room. So I wandered around until I saw a guy with a cart and grabbed him. They got everything fixed so the program was only a few minutes late getting started. Giz shadowed Maurice York who set up the streaming for the event (so that he can replicate it for National Forum this fall). I took notes so that we can provide folks with brief bullet points on the trends discussed (for those who won’t have the time or inclination to watch the 90 minute video that will be archived on Ustream). Each panelist brought two trends that they presented (in two rounds). Round one trends included frictionless access (smartphone technology that provides unfettered access to services without user interaction), the advent of “enterprise IT staff” for libraries (bringing in professional programmers rather than librarians who like programming), the impending demise of the ILS, the trend toward self-service (mentioned a rack to manage iPad loans including re-imaging!), and the rise of personal institutional curation services (library created guides was an example). Round two trends were: on-demand (printing including 3D, CD-burning, a hybrid model to provide the physical experience), web analytics, reintegration of discovery with the backend systems, technologies that take instruction in a different direction (eg touch screens) and the platform wars in consumer space (a library concern with interoperability). I’ll be pulling together more in-depth (well maybe a few sentences for each topic) information for posting onto the LITA blog next week, but this will give you the idea. I thought the session was one of the most successful in recent memory. There were good trends and interesting interchanges among the panelists that made the session’s 90 minutes fly by!

Texas School Book Depository

Texas School Book Depository (now a museum)

After a good lunch visiting with a group that Elisaeth Leonard invited to lunch (thank you Sage for my second free meal of the day), Mary Beth and I took an hour and toured the JFK museum at the Texas School Book Depository. It was very moving, and brought back a flood of memories from that watershed event in America’s history. Photos weren’t allowed (you know that was tough for me!), so afterward we strolled outside where they have two X’s on the street where the shots hit and have a big ugly yellow banner sign proclaiming “grassy knoll.”

After that, it was back to the conference where I joined Roz, Giz and Mary Beth in an Information Commons discussion session. I’ll let one of them report on that, as I am talked out now and have to get ready for a full morning of LITA meetings before we head back to NC this afternoon!

4 Responses to “Sunday’s ALA Midwinter Roundup from Susan”

  1. Thanks for this Susan- I was very interested in the topics you mentioned -the demise of the ILS and trend toward self-service.

  2. Learning more about streaming media from Maurice York was great! I’m excited about streaming our keynotes at the LITA 2012 Forum.

  3. Sorry I couldn’t attend Top Tech Trends, but it does seem like it was very insightful.

  4. Wow – power panel! I’d love to hear what was said about POD!


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