Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Future Directions For Libraries And Information Librarians

Libraries and librarians are challenged with the most profound changes ever to affect their profession, focus and expected outputs.

Their competitive advantage is unique, but it is their unfamiliarity with new approaches to information management that bogs them down to undynamic positions.

Their skillset and professional research abilities can be extremely hard to match assets for the new entrepreneurial publishers, rapidly entering the niche content delivery, search and aggregation marketplaces.

"But it is no longer enough to present a warehouse of content and expect community members to create their own personalized meaningful context, post hoc, out of the raw materials."

"Historically, libraries have been the unparalleled collectors of content, and for many reasons: their mandate to protect collections that reflect local communities; the necessity of a single place to find and obtain information; and because, frankly, no one did it better.

Today, however, none of these statements is exclusively true.

The "just-in-case" community collection is no longer adequate and consumers of content expect a great deal more personalization and dynamism in their content experiences.

...Others in the content market have read the oracle's tea leaves and so provide syndicated and scoped content with personalization features that make perhaps inferior content very attractive to an ever more demanding, format-agnostic information producer and consumer.

What seems clear is that libraries should move beyond the role of collector and organizer of content, print and digital, to one that establishes the authenticity and provenance of content and provides the imprimatur of quality in an information rich but context-poor world.

The challenge is how to do this.

The best way to adapt is to understand what's forcing the change.

Research suggests that end users see the most important role for their libraries as making content available in the user's digital workspace, regardless of what devices are in that space. The networked ambient environment will support "tasks...on the appropriate computing devices and will be available anywhere, anytime.

The sources of information and tools will be abstracted, much as the power plants that provide electricity and the reservoirs that provide water are invisible to the consumer.

Web Services, XML and WiFi and other such technologies form the foundation for this virtualized environment.

While it is not yet clear how this marriage of technology and content will play out, it is clear that those that have not moved to XML and Web Services will be locked out of a key channel of distribution. XML and Web Services are not options--they are imperative."

Excerpted from: 2004 Information Format Trends:
Content, Not Containers

Written and compiled by OCLC Marketing staff

OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
6565 Frantz Road
Dublin, Ohio 43017-3395
1-800-848-5878 +1-614-764-6000
Fax: +1-614-764-6096

For updates and more information about
The 2004 Five-Year Information Format Trends Report please visit:



Content, Not Containers -
Reference: OCLC [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Saturday, September 18 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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