I found this exercise fascinating. The very first thing I noticed was, of the five speakers listed in the exercise, only one was female. For a female dominated industry, I find that quite sad. Why aren’t more females spouting the crap that us males spout? Equal rights rah rah. I find it even more pathetic because all of the strong advocates of Web 2.0 technologies in libraries that I know are female. I liase with librarians in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, and only two male librarians spring to mind who advocate this, the other 20 or so are female. (Maybe it’s because the only people talking about this are either academic librarians who have to justify their employment with innovative research or upper management of IT companies wanting us to use their products…or is that just my jaded view?)
Back to Library 2.0. The most interestesting article to me was ‘To better bibliographic services’ by John Riemer. As a cataloguer, he talks about using existing metadata (our library catalogues) to enhance our collections. This is something close to my heart, I believe that all libraries do way too much duplication and that there should be easy ways of acquiring all kinds of things. Book data is very easy to acquire (log in to LibrariesAustralia, edit my holdings and ta-da, I have a catalogue record for my library) but data for other media are lacking. Even something as commonplace as a Naruto DVD required me to make the record myself (we are a small, poor public library, we do title cataloguing for such works and I wouldn’t even bother making it available to everyone else, it would be lovely if someone did full cataloguing with tables of contents, etc). Even better would be linked tables of contents/chapter listings. With audio this would be brilliant and could link to snippets of the music that are available on various CD sites. I understand there’d be copyright implications, even for 10 second snippets of music, but it would still be nice.
Sorry, got distracted (it happens so easily). Actually, the distraction works for me. One of his ‘hints’ is to adopt web features…things like linking in to data that is already available (ie snippets of music). Maybe even link to reviews. We’re hoping to get something similar working at Brimbank Libraries with a link to LibraryThing. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get LibraryThing to connect to our data and give suggestions for other books to read. This is currently available in things like Bowker’s FictionConnection but, well, this doesn’t integrate as easily as LibraryThing would (and costs a crapload more).
I also thought Wendy Schultz’s article ‘To a temporary place in time…’ was interesting, mostly because I don’t really agree with her forecasting. Firstly, she assumes that libraries will be a quiet place in the future (ha! I wish they were quiet now…has she ever been in a public library?) and that just got my goat. I don’t want my library to be quiet. Quiet areas, yes. Comfortable, yes. Quiet everywhere? No. I’d rather my public library be comfortable and cosy, like a living room. I want couches. I want a fireplace. I want someone to serve me a hot chocolate and bring me the latest Who Weekly and call me sir. Personally, I think libraries are going to end up as entertainment only venues. We’ll have free gadgets (virtual reality spaces), free reading material (the latest Virginia Andrews books, sure she’ll be 986 years old and dead for 900 of them but she’ll still churn them out) and somewhere you can dump the kids whilst you go shopping (storytime 7.1). Our specialist skills will all fall flat, very few people go to a public library to get research done. Academic and school libraries will still exist (if only to help teach scholars proper was to search the Googlenet) but public libraries won’t be for that kind of stuff.
I was interviewed recently as part of a research project looking into the library services for Baby Boomers and I think I’m quite jaded. If the physical library exists at all in 100 years, it will be as a data storage centre. Although people say they can’t live without books, in all honesty, they’re going to all die off soon enough (myself included) and new technologies will emerge that supercede paper. They can already create a screen that is as thin as two credit cards, and technology will only get better. I’m fairly certain that I’ll see something that supercedes paper as a reading medium in my lifetime. After all, I’m young enough that I don’t need a book to do anything really, sure I don’t like reading for fun on a computer, but I’d much rather read a recipe on one than store 600 cookbooks on a shelf in the kitchen.
Maybe I’m just too jaded today.