Thursday, January 07, 2010

Library 2020

Let's assume the following technology trends realize their potential over the next ten years.

  • Cloud discovery services like Worldcat, EBSCO, and Serial Solutions successfully federate search across most journals and databases that universities subscribe to.
  • Subscription services from Google and others offer access to most out of print books.
  • Computer tablets like the iSlate with e-reader software become ubiquitous on university campus, and students obtain all their text books electronically.

What would a University Library look like in this world ? The traditional acquisition, cataloging, archiving, and circulation library and librarian roles become anachronisms. The library completes its already begun transition from a student's content provider of books and journals to become a manager of contracts with third party content and service providers that students access directly. Eventually campus IT or some similar organization assumes responsibility for managing the library provider contracts, and the library space itself completes its transition to student union and learning commons.

An academic library may keep vitality as a publisher and archiver of university authored content from research papers to financial statements. It will be fun to see what happens.

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