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Top Technology Trends: Speak to me, oh FRL Readers

I’m starting way, way late on this thread. I don’t leave for ALA until Saturday morning, and I’ve been distracted by things at My Place Of Work (MPOW) and elsewhere.

Plus my brain is blank. White, Arctic, empty-screen, blank. All I can think is this:

Librarianship is finally moving into the second person plural. We are no longer serving they, that distant group, but you, the people we are trying to reach. (Even though sometimes when I say you I mean you providers or you librarians–the confrontational second person plural. But allow me a few inconsistencies.)

For a long time some of us have said that the user is not broken. But now we’re hearing these words repeated. Eric Lease Morgan started a discussion list for brainstorming and planning the “next gen catalog.” Librarians who might otherwise suffer in silence are speaking up about the limitations of the products they buy to serve their users. New ideas abound. There’s a general friskiness, a level of dissatisfaction, a rededication to problem-solving rippling through LibraryLand, a focus on providing a service to real people, and I like it.

In terms of more concrete trends–well, there’s multimedia, and broadband, and increased use of the Web, and more rapid acceptance of new social software tools. YouTube has been around just over a year, and its videos get over 50 million hits a day. Facebook has almost become synonymous with college, and the question is not whether young people will use MySpace but how we will guide them in this new tool. Privacy is rapidly becoming a more porous concept to younger users.

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