Tag Archives: future

Younger Americans’ Library Habits and Expectations

PEW project The PEW Institute has just released a very encouraging report on the library habits and expectations of the 18-25 years old group. Some may find it useful for strategic planning and discussions with stakeholders.  You can access the summary here and the full report in PDF format from the menu on the left hand side.

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Top trends in academic libraries

Creating the future for librariesI’ve just re-read the top 10 trends for academic libraries identified by the ACRL  Research Planning and Review Committee and published in: June 2012 College & Research Libraries News vol. 73 no. 6 311-320.

This document is the framework for the just released 2013 ACRL Environmental Scan.  It is interesting to compare these two to see how the focus is changing.

For those who missed it or don’t have access to the archives of ACRL News, I’ve summarized below  the top trends from the report (Please note that these top trends are not listed in order of importance but alphabetically):

 Communicating value
Academic libraries must prove the value they provide to the academic enterprise.  Librarians must be able to convert the general feelings of goodwill towards the library to effective communication to all stakeholders that clearly articulate its value to the academic community.
Data curation
Data curation challenges are increasing as standards for all types of data continue to evolve; more repositories, many of them cloud-based, has to emerge; librarians and other information workers need to collaborate with their research communities to facilitate this process.
Digital preservation
As digital collections mature, concerns grow about the general lack of long-term planning for their preservation. Local digital collections are at risk when the individual institution lacks a comprehensive preservation plan.
Higher education
Higher education institutions are entering a period of flux, and potentially even turmoil. Trends to watch for are the rise of online instruction and degree programs, globalization, and an increased skepticism of the “return on investment” in a college degree.
Information technology
Technology continues to drive much of the futuristic thinking within academic libraries. The key trends driving educational technology are equally applicable to academic libraries: people’s desire for information and access to social media and networks anytime/anywhere; acceptance and adoption of cloud-based technologies; more value placed on collaboration; ; and a new emphasis on challenge-based and active learning.
Mobile environments
Mobile devices are changing the way information is delivered and accessed. An increasing number of libraries provide services and content delivery to mobile devices.
Patron driven e-book acquisition
Patron-Driven Acquisition (PDA) of e-books is poised to become the norm. For this to occur, licensing options and models for library lending of e-books must become more sustainable.  PDA is  an inevitable trend for libraries under pressure to prove that their expenditures are in line with their value.
Scholarly communication
New scholarly communication and publishing models are developing at an ever-faster pace, requiring libraries to be actively involved or be left behind.
Staffing
Academic libraries must develop the staff needed to meet new challenges through creative approaches to hiring new personnel and deploying or retraining existing staff.
User behaviors and expectations
Convenience affects all aspects of information seeking—the selection, accessibility, and use of sources. Libraries usually are not the first source for finding information. When queried, respondents describe the library as “hard to use,” “the last resort,” and “inconvenient.”
 

The ACRL asks the community for feedback and provides a venue to get involved and contribute to the ongoing discussion on the trends in academic libraries by participating in  OnPoint Discussion atwww.ala.org/acrl/conferences/onpoint.

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Open Access

open accessThe French newspaper Le Monde has just published a public statement, signed by sixty members of the academic community (presidents of universities, librarians, journals publishers and researchers) under the title “Who is afraid of open access ?” (see the original paper here :
http://www.lemonde.fr/sciences/article/2013/03/15/qui-a-peur-de-l-open-acces_1848930_1650684.html). It is now available in English : http://iloveopenaccess.org/arguments-for-open-access/

More than 1600 people already signed this statement, calling for open
access as fast as possible and asking for HSS taking leadership in this
direction.  You can sign it : http://iloveopenaccess.org/?page_id=329

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Reading McLuhan – food for thought

I am soaking Marsahall McLuhan once again….  This great visionary and humanist to the core discerned that the modern industrial world derives its unity from technological imperatives rather than from nature or human instincts.  He argued back in the sixties that in the approaching electronic world, media and methods will replace philosophical inquiry into both natural and mechanical worlds;  and that the media of communication will replace the means of production.  As a result, humans will move from the age of industry where the means dominated to the age of information where the media dominate to the point that humans may loose control over them.  Here is how he puts it incisively:

The medium, or process, of our time – electric technology – is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life.  It is forcing us to reconsider and re-evaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted.  Everything is changing – you, your family, your neighbourhood, your education, your job, your government, your relation to “the others”.  And they are changing dramatically. […] Radical changes in identity, happening suddenly and in very brief intervals of time, have proved more deadly and destructive to human values than wars fought with hardware weapons.”

-Marshall McLuchan and Quentin Fiore, The Medium Is the Message (1967)

…. and here is the Master lecturing….

Enjoy…

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The digital divide argument

      I was going to meet  my daughter  for a cup of coffee  at Tim Horton’s on on my  lunch break.  I was late because, unexpectedly,  at the last minute, I had to assist a frustrated patron trying to check the Internet with his laptop at our library.
        The academic  library where I work does  not offer wifi access to anyone but the university students  and it takes anywhere between 5-10 minutes for a person walking into our library to play with the wires attached to the registration computer before they can scan their ID and get a daily pass that allows them to access the Internet on one of two computer stations that are open to the public.  Trying to get the computer pass is always a frustrating experience.  After several years of assisting people with using this machine, I still have no clue what is the best way to scan the personal ID, so it would cooperate and issue the pass.
       When I was paying for my coffee at the counter at Tim’s,  I spotted the sign advertising free Internet access.   They partnered with Bell to do it in order to bring in more customers and level with competitors, such as Second Cup, that already offer wifi.   I should have sent my patron to Tim Hortons …  Yes, they would get the Internet access quickly there and it is a 5 minute walk  from my library… They could get a cup of coffee too…. They could search the Internet and drink coffee in a public space…  My patron would do better at Tim’s… and they should, and justly so, be called Tim Horton’s patrons, not mine….
      Most libraries would not allow people bring Tim Horton’s coffee into the library,  nor would they allow a coffee shop inside the library….  At the same time, libraries claim to be the institutions that help to close the digital divide by providing the Internet access to those who cannot afford it.   Coffee shops are closing it while we use this argument and develop our collections….

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Battle for the the Internet

The (British) Guardian has just published an interesting investigation into the several attempts to control the Internet – see it at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/series/battle-for-the-internet.

To me this is investigation is the perfect case for the libraries as it shows that the decentralized design of the Internet can be tamed by the commercial powers of the few. This indicates clearly that that the Internet even at this early stage is not a safe storage for all the human knowledge, as many enthusiasts claim, but that there is a vital need to have the records of our culture stored in various formats in multiple decentralized locations.  If  we fail to convince now the people around us that such places that are publicly funded and provide free access to knowledge and information are still necessary, the Fahrenheit 451 scenario is not too far removed from reality.   Indeed, it is a huge professional responsibility on all of us to prove through our work and inventiveness that libraries are the institutions that can fulfill this mission.

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Reading Asimov and wikipedia..

I treat myself to Asimov’s “Foundation” once again today.  It is one of the books that I have been re-reading all my life and always find something astonishing. Today, this passage jumped at me:

The Empire will vanish, and all its good with it.  Its accumulated knowledge will decay and the order it has imposed will vanish.  A Second Empire will rise, but between it and our civilization will be one thousand generations of suffering humanity.  We must fight that.   – How do you propose to do this?   – By saving the knowledge of the race… my thirty thousand men with their wives and children are devoting themselves to the preparation of an Encyclopedia Galactica. They will not complete it in their lifetimes.  I will not even live to see it fairly begun. But by the time the Empire falls, it will be complete and copies will be exist in every major library in the Galaxy.” 

Which brings a lot of questions to my mind… Would librarians facilitate this process? And what is the knowledge of the race, what’s its nature and where does knowledge lie? Is it in books that take a few years from the inception of an idea to print and distribution, or the journal articles that get published much quicker? Or is this type of knowledge already dead by the time it gets published and the only live and current knowledge really exists in our heads and we talk and think it minute by minute, second by second.  How to capture this knowledge and record it?  Give the free tools to thirty thousand men with their wives and children who will devote themselves to the preparation of an Encyclopedia Galactica….

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