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OPLIN 4Cast #253: 2012 strategic technologies

Posted in 4cast

Last updated on October 25, 2011

Last week, even though we’re still more than two months away from the New Year, the Gartner Group released their list of the Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2012. These are technologies that they feel will have a high potential to disrupt business, might require a large investment of cash, or carry high risk if the business is late to adopt them. Since this is the OPLIN 4cast, not the “10cast,” we’re focusing today on the four strategic technologies which we think might have the most impact on libraries: Mobile-Centric Applications; Social User Experience; Big Data; and the Internet of Things.

  • Library mobile applications: what counts as success? [pdf] (OCLC Research/Bruce Washburn)  “Some library mobile apps concentrate on the library catalog. Search and discovery of the catalog can sometimes be implemented relatively quickly, in particular if the system that supports the website for the catalog offers an out-of-the-box mobile solution. In some recent surveys of mobile users of library services, the library catalog was not the most used or desired service. Other services such as looking up library hours, reserving a study room or computer, checking out materials, paying fines, and reading electronic resources were of as much interest as searching the library catalog; in most cases much more important.”
  • What is “social reading” and why should libraries care? (Tame the Web/Allison Mennella)  “To increase both the library’s appeal and stress its value to users, libraries should consider implementing customizable and participatory services for social reading. There are a number of ways to accomplish the creation of this social space from designing blogs, podcasts, a wiki or even using an existing social media platform like GoodReads. The key is to build and maintain a site that uses moderated trust to give patrons a voice in this social space. If possible, libraries should give patrons the opportunity to design and manage their own ‘space’ within the library’s broader social platform.”
  • Retooling libraries for the data challenge (Ariadne/Dorothea Salo)  “Deposit processes in many institutional repositories assume a limited number of files to deposit, such that they can be described and uploaded one at a time by a human being. Applying this manual process to datasets is like trying to empty the ocean with an eyedropper. The SWORD protocol [Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit] holds potential to ameliorate this problem, but the protocol has not yet made its way into researcher or even library tools or processes.”
  • Buh bye library card, hello smartphone? (Ryan Livergood)  “Libraries should definitely be paying attention to apps like Google Wallet that utilize NFC [Near Field Communication] technology. Before long, many of our patrons may begin to abandon their wallets for their NFC enabled smartphones and expect to be able to use them at libraries like they can at the Walgreens or Subway across the street. Hopefully, their libraries will be ‘yes’ libraries that allow their users to store their library card in their smartphone wallet.”

Last year fact:
For those keeping score, many of Gartner’s 2012 strategic technologies were also in their 2011 list; note that, “Video … as a standard media type used in non-media companies…” has apparently graduated from prediction to fact.