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Comments Welcomed: Top Tech Trends at ALA

Update: I agree with the assessment (shared in msbosh’s comment, below) that I wrote this post in Computer Klingon without enough emphasis on more fundamental technology issues. I’m adding some clarification.


I’m cautiously opening comments on this post, and will watch the resources on the evaluation server Dreamhost has parked me on. You’d do me a great favor by throwing in your 2 cents!

At the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago I am once again on a panel where in theory I am touting my “expertise” about top technology trends, fortunately surrounded by folks such as Sarah Houghton, Eric Lease Morgan, and Roy Tennant who really do have a clue. In January I was able to get by with a little help from my friends–you folks, actually, who told me what is going on in the world beyond My Place Of Work.

I’d love to hear from you again. I have been so busy with work, writing, and helping establish the LITA blog that I haven’t wrapped my brain around top tech trends, let alone middling trends or even anti-trends. Which are really trends, if you think about it. (On PUBLIB we had a post recently from a library that was looking for arguments to migrate from a card catalog, and I thought… for real? In 2005?)

I promise to quote freely from your posts when I summarize the trends on the LITA blog this Wednesday before I grow wings and fly to Chicago, even though Tony, my new hairdresser, did such a bad job with my hair I considered staying home. Or doing the Sinead O’Connor thing. Nice highlights… I just look like a dandelion.

Anyway. Would you say these trends/issues are still fresh? What’s in your trend wallet?

RFID and “life beyond the barcode”
DRM–Digital Resource Management–I felt this one when I couldn’t load an Overdrive audiobook on my Treo because it only plays on Windows-approved PDAs (Overdrive, you’re welcome to respond–we won’t bite!)
Instant Messaging as a cheaper/lightweight tool for virtual reference
Ubiquitous computing/nomadicity: is that a Treo in your pocket, or are you just glad to surf me?
Cheap storage: I have four flash drives (keychain drives)–what do you see your patrons bringing in?
Convergence: Tools that do many things, e.g. my Treo has a waffle iron in it! Though they are VERY small waffles… hard to get the butter in those nooks and crannies.
Externality: I admit, I copied this in as someone else’s suggestion. What the heck does this mean? (I wear my Treo hanging from my belt loop, like those Stanford nerds I see on University Avenue? No way!)
Open source (I would add, and enterprise open source–managed by vendors who provide paid support)
Wi-fi: a lot more libraries offering it, 95% of all laptops come wifi ready. Plus people are buying more laptops than desktops (that nomadicity thing again).
Attribute-based authentication and access: Yup, the egghead who wrote this on my blog will have to explain.
Downloadable audio: Sarah’s comment, below, gets into that and adds video
Broadband (coming soon to a rural area near you!): Are the rural areas that need broadband finally getting it?
Acceptance of group-edited data, e.g. Wikipedia (not by me, however)

I continue to ponder and worry to what extent libraries are perceived as playing a role as technology leaders, how well library resources are understood by people outside libraries, and where we will be in a decade. Not to mention where to find a new hairdresser in Silicon Valley.

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