Today I attended a webinar entitled “Technology Trends in Libraries: Tools, Skills, Staffing, Training”.  It was billed as part of the “Library Futures: Staying Ahead of the Curve Series” presented by Eric Lease Morgan and Marshall Breeding.  This webinar was offered through the College of DuPage.  I found the webinar to be very disappointing, much of the material presented was at least 6 months old.  Some I had already had experience with in library school (I graduated in May of 2008).  That being said, here our my notes from this webinar and from tweets from some of the other participants.

  • The newest trends in library services have more of an intense focus on the end user.
  • Students were interviewed and asked what they liked about Google, they stated that Google was the first thing that popped into their heads, it was usually contained in the toolbar, and it automatically fixes spelling.
  • They also admitted that Google can be a bit overwhelming with all the results and that the results are not always the most reliable sources.
  • Students were then asked about library catalogs and databases.  They feel that library catalogs and databases were the polar opposite of Google.  They are hard to use and there are too many options.  They did not like the concept of using controlled vocabulary.
  • The students did admit that they liked the content found in the databases and usually received a higher grade on papers written with database sources rather than Google sources.
  • It seemed to be a consensus that a combination of the two – Google for general info and then going to the databases for reliable info.
  • They also stated that they wished library databases worked like Google.
  • Libraries today have many competitors like Amazon, Google, Wikipedia, and
  • Libraries should strive to have a single point of entry to all the content & services of the library.
  • Question is – how do we get past a catalog that just addresses physical things in our library and not digital content also?
  • Federated searches have not worked out well.
  • Web scale search is the up and coming way to search.  Search not only the metadata, but the full text as well (SOPAC2).
  • Check out Phoenix Public Library and Queens Public Library for examples.
  • We also need to start thinking about our library interfaces on mobile devices.
  • A way to describe length of electronic text (like we describe physical books by page count) is with word counts.
  • Open Source Software should be seen as free as in liberty, not free as in gratis.
  • Open Source Software is about as free in price as a free kitten.
  • Open Source Software doesn’t work unless there is community.
  • Community builds tweaks into the software.
  • Databases stink when it comes to a search – you want an indexer.
  • Open Source Software does have support – increasingly companies provide support for OSS (e.g. LibLime for KOHA).
  • We need to have people who have expertise in computers on staff in our libraries.
  • Learn Swish-e – Windows/Unix based indexing program (others suggested Lucene, Solr, Backlight, & VuFind).
  • Explore making XML files.

There is a major question of how to preserve born digital content.

  • Digital content is fragile
  • Bit rot – digital corruption
  • Continuous cycles of formats
  • How do we migrate this?  Media/format/standards?
  • Who is going to keep these files forever?  Partnerships?
  • How are we going to compensate for bit rot?

As I said previously, not much new, but it is good to keep all these ideas in mind.