Wednesday, March 15, 2006

TheoLib on the future of libraries

From The End of Cyberspace: TheoLib on the future of libraries:

Interesting post by TheoLib on the future of libraries. Some key ideas:

1. During the next ten years, the medium for information storage, discovery, and retrieval will become primarily digital.
2. For many, digital media will also the media of choice for information use. A significant portion of users, however, will require a print on demand service to support the use of information stored in digital format.
3. The concept of a library collection will either be redefined or simply become obsolete. Aggregators and publishers will continue to bundle multiple titles into single price packages available through license agreements. (Libraries have traditionally selected such items individually for purchase and permanent addition to a physical collection.)
4. Publishers and aggregators will market directly to users, bypassing libraries. Information discovery tools the build on the technologies of Google, Yahoo and others will seamlessly index information available through open access as well as licensed materials.
5. The primary pedagogical task for librarians will shift from collection development as a means of filtering information and providing quality control for users to helping users to develop the skills to filter and to critically assess the information they discover.
6. The primary 'technical services' task will be to build linking mechanisms that enable social network tagging systems to easily communicate with each other.
Numbers 1 and 2 seem pretty certain to me. 3 will vary somewhat by discipline; I suspect that some collections, such as academic law libraries, will still continue to collect print monographs for quite some time, but even that will taper off as electronic paper and other forms of portable text media evolve. 4 will also vary by discipline, and again I suspect that libraries will still be the conduit for expensive academic information sources. 5 again seems pretty obvious to me. I'm not certain about 6, but it seems plausible.

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