Libraries are moving outside the walls of their buildings and the firewalls of their networks in order to provide information to users wherever they happen to be. They are applying mobile technology so that users can find information, whether they are in the street or the classroom or travelling to work or study. Libraries are participating in social networks in order to be present in the virtual places that users visit everyday. They are opening up and sharing library data so it can be discovered via external systems and they are expanding beyond traditional roles, curating raw research data from the laboratories to ensure that results are verifiable and data can be re-used. As well, while computing resources shift to the cloud or connect to grid networks, libraries are moving beyond local systems and information silos to discover, access and re-use information resources located anywhere in the world.
ELAG 2012 – Sub-themes
1. Libraries in the cloud
Libraries are discussing next-generation library management environments that will be cloud-based and the first commercial systems based on this structure are now appearing. To retrieve a wide range of journal articles as well as traditional catalogue items, many libraries have selected cloud-based resource discovery platforms. Even traditional local library collections themselves are moving to the cloud in the form of e-books.
What strategies are libraries developing to deal with this exciting new development? What is involved in migration? What are the risks of cloud computing and what do we hope to gain?
2. Mobile libraries
No longer are users using library services just from traditional desktop computers. They are truly on the move and are using a range of mobile devices including laptops, tablets, iPods and smart phones. How can ‘traditional’ library services be presented to users in such an environment? What factors are important in developing truly usable mobile interfaces and how does this reflect back on the design of traditional library sites? Does mobile technology create opportunities for new location-based library services?
3. Open and linked data
The Web enables us to link data as well as documents and Linked Open Data provides a set of best practices for publishing and consuming structured data on the Web. Libraries– and indeed anyone– can reuse bibliographic and authority data to build innovative services for researchers, teachers, students and other librarians. How can we provide useful data (including links to other non-library data sources) for others to use? How can we make use of linked open data to enrich the information we provide to our users? What are the legal and practical issues to be considered and what are the potential costs and benefits?
4. Augmented reality
Augmented reality (the overlay of computer- or cloud-generated information, graphics and so on onto real-world scenes) is a new development that could very well be applied to libraries. While we have seen implementations for easier library shelving like the augmented reality Android app, this use of other information to enhance real world views has not yet had much impact. How could these enhanced views be used? What other kinds of applications exist and who has created them? What are the potentials for using library information in this way?
5. Research data
Over the last few years, research libraries have been busy building repositories in which to collect and organize their institution’s research publications. Making research publications more accessible is one thing, but providing access to all the underlying data sets adds even more value, making research more transparent and verifiable. It allows research data to be applied in other research and makes follow-up studies more efficient. In addition, it offers unprecedented possibilities for linking and analyzing data sets. Libraries are starting to build these data repositories and take on the role of curating this research data. Are libraries ready to take on this new role? What new tools or new skills do we need to be able to curate research data? What can we learn from the organizations with experience in this area?
Perhaps you have another library technology topic that you would love to tell us about, but it doesn’t fall neatly into one of the sub-themes. Don’t be shy– tell us anyway!