How far off are we from the new library that has no physical holdings, no ILS system, no repositories, no nothing except the building, a patron database, some furniture and some terminals?
We can see two important directions, one towards concentration and one towards diffusion.
First concentration, which we see at at least three levels. At the institutional level, there is a strong push to overcoming fragmentation by moving towards new institutional discovery layers (Primo, Encore, Worldcat Local). At the group level we see the emergence of more state or national systems which pull together resources in user-facing services. These are attractive because they present more resources to the user. And at the global level, we see library resources being represented - through linking or syndication strategies - in search engines, Flickr, Google Scholar, Worldcat and other network level resources.
The second is atomization of content and services so that they can be better integrated into diffuse networking device and applications environments. Here think of RSS/AtomPub, mobile interfaces, APIs, alerting services, portlets and widgetization, persistent links to library services and content, etc. Issues here are technical and licensing. Users increasingly value convenience and relevance, and packaging materials in ways that make most sense for them is not always straightforward.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Lorcan Dempsey (OCLC) on the future of libraries,