Top Tech Trends, ALA Annual 2015 edition: Local and Unique; New metrics and citation tools

I threw my hat into the ring to be on the LITA Top Tech Trends panel at the ALA annual conference later this month in San Francisco, and never could I say that I was more excited not to be selected. (You can find more info on this year’s Top Tech Trends session in the ALA Conference Scheduler.) There is a great lineup of panelists this year:

  • Sarah Houghton (Moderator), Director of the San Rafael Public Library – @TheLiB
  • Carson Block, 20-year veteran of libraries and now a library technology consultant – @CarsonBlock
  • Andrea Davis, who has her fingers in so many pies that you should really check out her LinkedIn profile@detailmatters
  • Grace Dunbar, Vice President of Equinox Software, Inc
  • Bonnie Tijerina, Fellow at the Data & Society Institute in New York City – @bonlth

As part of the process, the committee asks potential panelists to explain two trends, why they are important, and how it will affect libraries. Although I’m not on the panel this year, I thought it would be useful to post my two trends here and see what others thought.

Making the local and the unique available to everyone and everywhere

A core part of libraries and other cultural heritage organizations has been to collect, preserve, and make available the resources that are unique to their users, their location, and their specialization. Up until recent years, availability of these resources spread by word-of-mouth, by citation in published literature, by large national union catalog volumes, and by short bibliographic records made available first through OCLC then by online catalogs. With the conception and execution of projects like DPLA and Europeana, broad audiences are finding digital surrogates (or digital copies) of these resources. And most recently IMLS highlighted its intent to build up capabilities through its focus on a National Digital Platform and its funding of the Hydra-in-a-Box initiative. How does that change the collection development missing? Or the research and reference mission? It isn’t so much a matter of remaining relevant as it is to serve different audiences and different needs. And I think public libraries are impacted the most. How can the experiences of large — typically academic — libraries be applied on a large scale to cultural heritage organizations of all types?

New metrics and new citation tools

Last year’s Library Horizon Report from the New Media Consortium listed “Bibliometics and Citation Technologies” with a Time-to-Adoption horizon of three years. “Alt Metrics” has taken off to the point where NISO’s Todd Carpenter suggests we should simply call them “metrics” — there is nothing alternative about them. If the tools of the day allow us to measure the impact of our scholars’ work to the article and dataset level, how will that impact the library’s mission to collect, offer, and preserve materials of local interest? If annotation frameworks like hypothes.is take off, what is the role of libraries in preserving and contextualizing those additions to the scholarly conversation?

So! If you were able to sit on the panel, what would your two top technology trends be for this year?