this article was published in 2006
Some of the key technology disconnects between libraries and current online communities include:
- Libraries lack tools to support the creation of new-model digital scholarship and to enable the use of Web services frameworks to support information reformatting (for example, RSS) and point-of-need Web-based assistance (multimedia tutorials or instant messaging assistance).
- Dogmatic library protection of privacy inhibits library support for file-sharing, work-sharing, and online trust-based transactions that are increasingly common in online environments, thus limiting seamless integration of Web-based services.
- Ubiquitous handheld access is more prominent thanks to digital lifestyle devices such as smart phones and iPods, yet libraries still focus on digital content for typical desktop PCs.
Drawing a clear line between technology and policy can be difficult. For example, how many of the characteristics of current libraries (identified by the list below) are driven purely by technology or by policy? These traits include:
- Mainly electronic text-based collections with multimedia content noticeably absent
- Constructed for individual use but requires users to learn from experts how to access and use information and services
- Library presence usually “outside” the main online place for student activity (MySpace, iTunes, Facebook, the campus portal, or learning management system)
Similarly, a policy solution might be required to address the following types of disconnects between libraries and online users:
- Deliberately pushing library search tools into other environments such as learning management systems or social network infrastructure and, conversely, integrating popular external search tools into library frameworks (such as Google Scholar and MS Academic Live Search or LibX.org)
- Libraries linking and pointing to larger sets of open-access data that add context to their local collections
- Restructuring access to reflect use instead of library organizational structure
What is your library doing to:
- Support the user’s affinity for self-paced, independent, trial-and-error methods of learning?
- Create opportunities to make library information look and behave like information that exists in online entertainment venues?
- Explore alternative options for delivering information literacy skills to users in online environments and alternate spaces?
- Apply the typical user’s desire for instant gratification to the ways that libraries could be using technology for streamlined services?
- Redefine administrative, security, and policy restrictions to permit online users an online library experience that rivals that of a library site visit?
- Preserve born-digital information?
The promise of seamlessness that stems from ubiquitous computing access and instantly available networked information is, unfortunately, stifled significantly within the libraries of today.
more on millennials in this IMS blog