Thinking About Developing a “Technology Road Map” for Your Library?

I somehow managed to miss the release of “The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know” when it came out last May. This Library Information Technology Association (LITA) guide was edited by Kenneth J. Varnum, Web Systems Manager at the University of Michigan Library. Varnum also contributed one of the papers and was responsible for gathering together the guide’s contributors.

He provides some context for the collection in his introductory remarks:

In a landscape where tools and trends change in a heartbeat, how can a library technologist know what has staying power and might well be the next big thing, worthy of serious attention? In this book, we have gathered experts on a range of emerging technologies to talk about just that. To avoid deus-ex-machina solutions to all our challenges, I asked the contributors to this book to stick to a near-term future, three to five years away—close enough to be in the realm of the predictable, but far enough away to ensure that the path to the future is not already paved.”

It’s a very useful survey of emerging technologies and includes a couple of papers on augmented reality, one by my colleague William Denton, Web Librarian at York University.

  • Impetus to Innovate: Convergence and Library Trends / by A.J. Million and Heather Lea Moulaison
  • Hands-Free Augmented Reality: Impacting the Library Future / by Brigitte M. Bell and Terry Cottrell
  • Libraries and Archives Augmenting the World / by William Denton
  • The Future of Cloud-Based Library Systems / by Steven Bowers and Elliot Jonathan Polak
  • Library Discovery: From Ponds to Streams / by Kenneth J. Varnum
  • Exit As Strategy: Web Services as the New Websites for Many Libraries / by Anson Parker, VP Nagraj, and David Moody
  • Reading and Non-Reading: Text Mining in Critical Practice / by Devin Higgins
  • Bigger, Better, Together: Building the Digital Library of the Future / by Jeremy York
  • The Case for Open Hardware in Libraries / by Jason Griffey

If you are thinking about developing a “technological road map for your library’s future” Varnum offers the following advice:

“… you should look farther down the road than the current year’s goals and projects, thinking more strategically. You probably are addressing the immediate needs of your library and patrons, or are working hard to do so. What you should be doing is looking farther down the road, seeking to discern what, broadly speaking, a successful version of your library will like.”

Having discovered this collection I am now eager to get a copy. If you’d like to get a taste of what to expect you can read the introduction, first chapter and take a look at the index on the ALA website. When you decide to purchase there are print, ebook and print/ebook bundle options available.

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