ERIC Number: EJ878704
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Can We Future-Proof Library Automation?
Computers in Libraries, v30 n2 p29-31 Mar 2010
It's an obvious observation that librarians today find themselves dealing with collections of ever larger proportions of electronic content. The degree to which that shift has already taken place varies from one type of library to another. Some organizations, especially those involved with specializations in biomedical, scientific, or business, may already handle electronic content almost exclusively. Each component of the collections of academic libraries may vary according to discipline. Public libraries today continue to manage printed materials in very high proportions. In the public library sector, the circulation of physical materials continues as a key activity, supplemented by increased involvement with the delivery of electronic information to users in most of the forms seen in academic libraries. Public libraries have long been in the business of providing access to ebooks, audiobooks, and other digital versions of long-form monographs. While the author doesn't have precise projections for the proportions of formats that will constitute public libraries in the future, he is confident in a growing shift toward electronic content while maintaining significant holdings in print for the foreseeable future. But more than anything else, he is sure that the wheels of change people see today will turn ever faster as the years move on. Given this transition toward more digital collections, the author gives a lot of thought to the implications this trend brings to the technologies needed to support libraries. He doesn't necessarily have all the solutions in mind, but he thinks that it's important to conceive of technology infrastructures not locked into even the most progressive views of current library roles or views of what is anticipated in the near future. He just doesn't think that people can always predict what will happen next, and he hopes that the technologies that are developed today will be designed with the greatest amount of flexibility possible so that they can provide great support regardless of which of the current trends that are seen in play actually become dominant in the next round.
Descriptors: Electronic Publishing, Printed Materials, Public Libraries, Academic Libraries, Library Automation, Trend Analysis, Layout (Publications), Architecture, Library Development, Influence of Technology, Change Strategies, Organizational Change
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A