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Marshall Breeding, an independent consultant, writer, and frequent library conference speaker, is the founder of Library Technology Guides (librarytechnology.org). His recent write up, "Library Technology Forecast for 2015 and Beyond," was featured on InfoToday.com, and looks "at some specific technologies that are gaining momentum and warrant the library community's close attention."
His main points are:
- Relentless Consolidation: Mergers and acquisitions of library vendors continue. What is used by libraries is trending towards the control of fewer and fewer companies, which are larger in size. This speeds up innovation, offers products that do more and have more power, and opens up competition from open source alternatives. Libraries should demand better service and a higher level of technology expertise and creativity.
- Linked Data Opportunities: Re-engineering of commercial products to fit the Library of Congress' BIBFRAME seems to be in the planning stages and will likely result in prototypes and pilot projects by the end of 2015. The overall transition will probably take 3-5 years, and many products may only offer BIBFRAME "as an option rather than a wholesale replacement." But when it does happen, this change will finally adjust these products and services to fall in line with "semantic web technologies embraced by the broader realm."
- Mobile: The tipping point has been reached. Libraries need to get on board with responsive web design and mobile optimization; it's necessary, and should not just part of the "wish list" anymore. The web browser is the interface of choice for both patrons and staff. Rapid upgrades are predicted for 2015, and those making the updates will be the main competitors.
-3D Printing and Makerspaces: While paper printing was realized as a patron requirement many years ago, only libraries with "learning commons or innovation labs" may still offer or implement 3D printers this year.
- Technology that Enhances the Physical Library Experience:
1. Near-Field Communication, or NFC, allows interaction between devices. ApplePay is one example of this. By the end of 2015, many applications will be using this option.
2. RFID or Radio Frequency Identification (usually in the form of a bar code), has allowed libraries to operate more efficiently for many years, especially in regard to physical collections. But combined with NFC, RFID has many other ways to be used innovatively.
3. iBeacon - A way to track user interaction by macro-geolocation. Libraries could take a card from the retail deck on this one, to track physical usage of library facilities.
4. QR Codes - Haven't made a major impact and often are used incorrectly.
2015 seems to be all about technology development and adoption, at least in the library space. Read the entire article here.
Links in this article are used with the permission of InfoToday.