Tuesday, February 14, 2012

First plenary

The speaker at the first plenary session was Jason Griffey – Associate Professor / Head of Library Information Technology at University of Technology at Chattanooga, Tennessee -  on the topic Libraries and the Post PC era, especially mobile technologies. He has written a book Mobile Technologies and Libraries. http://jasongriffey.net/publications/ .

Expectations of library users are coloured by experiences. Mobile phones are now used more than computers and almost 50% of Australians with mobile phones have smart phones. Eighty-four per cent of Australians who own mobile phones use them for functions other than just making a phone call. Fifty percent of the smart phones are iphones. media streaming is the most popular use of the devices.

Single purpose devices include Kindle - good for reading books but not for anything else.
Multi purpose devices include Kindle Fire, ipad and tablets.
Librarians need to be aware of platforms people are buying and also how the items are used.
Librarians also need to be aware of new user interfaces such as Touch Screen  - an easy interface to use (it is not a tool), Kinect - gesture based technology recognised movement and gestures and Voice Control. No need for keyboard and a mouse.

Other technology discussed include:
  • Ambient Sensor Devices that go with you everywhere - connect to another service and allows things to connect to you.
  • Flip scanning is a future device allowing the scanning of a book in a minute or two. Could be available eventually via a mobile device.
  • Transparent displays by touch.
  • 3D printing creating three dimensional objects from a digital file using a materials printer similar to printing on paper. Makerbot is working in this field.
Strategies for libraries in the new environment include the need to look outside current services offered - provision for mobile devices should be first priority rather than second or third or not at all. Griffey referred to the book Adaptive web design by Aaron Gustafson to look at changes in web design particularly incorporating progressive enhancement.

Not all libraries need to be at the cutting edge of technology but it is necessary to know extent to which patrons are using technology.

Librarians are still needed. Most people who use the web do not know how to use it well.  Librarians provide human filtering of information, not machine filtering. Public librarians also know their community and can provide appropriate services to those who need them.

With increased access to broadband service there are increased learning opportunities, streaming opportunities and communication opportunities. Over time concepts of privacy will change.

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