Anonymous's picture

The Long Tail and Predictions

Found two extremely interesting articles on the future of library content and delivery. The first is by Clifford Lynch from D-Lib Magazine titled “Where Do We Go From Here? The Next Decade for Digital Libraries. In which Clifford expounds on what the next ten years will be like for digital libraries.

The second took place in ALA’s 2005 annual conference (which I didn’t attend):
OCLC Symposium: Mining the Long Tail: Libraries, Amazoogle and Infinite Availability uses Chris Anderson’s (Wired Magazine) paper The Long Tail to explore the increasing use of content targeting, the future of information resources, and how technology has and will shape how libraries provide services. Of course, Mr. Armstrong is the first speaker but the rest, like John Blossom and Nancy Davenport, also provide great insights into the fluid state of library services.

jan.wall's picture

Big Box stores/libraries

I keep going back to the UTNE article that says that libraries are in danger of becoming alike - looking like the Big Box bookstores, having the same set of popular materials on the shelf. One size fits all… One of the points is that libraries need to customize to their clientele - local and unique items.

As Pullman struggles with the possibility of a Super-Sized WalMart, there have been lots of comments in the paper both pro and con. The stores in Moscow that survived the first onslaught of WalMart did so by offering unique items that couldn’t be obtained elsewhere. And yet, it’s very frustrating, as a committed non-WalMart shopper, that there are some items that can only be found at WalMart (in the limited shopping area of Moscow-Pullman.)

Anonymous's picture

Futures & Academic Libraries

Here's a selection from Walt Crawford that I thought might be worthy of sharing:
Cites & Incites 5:9: Predicting the Future...

    Anonymous's picture

    Budgeting & its role in our future

    As most of you are, I am in the midst of preparing my FY 05-06 budget. Earlier this year I wrote a column that appeared in the Moscow Pulman Daily News which addressed the difference between a library and a reading room. The point I was making is that a library provides a full sprectrum of services, not just access to books. I was hoping to inspire the county residents to a higher goal for their libraries. But alas -

    As I meet with community groups throughout the county I frequently heard that they want books on the shelves, lots of books - but no apparent concern about the currency and accuracy of the information in the books or the breadth of available information.

    gina.persichini's picture

    Keeping Up

    As many people know, I have ankle that sometimes gives me a hard time. I slipped a few years back and found myself unable to walk for 6 weeks. With a little care, a fantastic doctor, and a relentless physical therapist I began walking. After 6 months I was walking pretty well, but I still had a limp. I had to struggle to keep up with others who were simply walking at the pace of the world around them and often found myself falling behind.

    Things are better now. I can keep up pretty well most of the time. First there was physical therapy. I really disliked it; it’s painful and I had to go 3 times a week for an hour each time. At the end, though, I was walking. Some time later, when I realized I wasn’t seeing much progress, I joined a gym. I’d go at least 3 times a week and do exercises to strengthen my ankle and improve its flexibility. Soon I walking in 5K’s and walking without a limp. I could keep up again.

    gina.persichini's picture

    The Quality of the Question

    I had the privilege of attending a Symposium over the past couple days with one of my colleagues. At the Symposium we learned a lot about providing library services in a virtual environment. A highlight of the event was hearing and talking with Stephen Abram. He has a lot of amazing ideas about the future of library services. One of the (many) things I wrote down was that we [librarians] “need to think of ourselves as people who improve the quality of the question.” Stephen has mentioned this in a blog posting of his own.

    Anonymous's picture

    Steve Jobs - 6/12/2005

    The following stories form yet another way to view the present and future.

    This is the text of the Commencement address at Stanford University by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

    I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

    The first story is about connecting the dots.

    jan.wall's picture


    The future truly is the place where no one has gone before. There seem to be so many trends that we're barely taking advantage of. (And should we?) I feel that especially when I visit Seattle. My family lives on their cell phones - text messages, photos, etc. Meanwhile, like many in northern Idaho, I don't even own a cell phone.

    Anonymous's picture

    Words from years ago

    The greatest crisis facing us is not Russia, not the Atom Bomb, not corruption in government, not encroaching hunger, not the morals of the young. It is a crisis in the organization and accessibility of human knowledge. We own an enormous “encyclopedia” — which isn’t even arranged alphabetically. Our “file cards” are spilled on the floor, nor were they ever in order. The answers we want may be buried somewhere in the heap, but it might take a lifetime to locate two already known facts, place them side by side and derive a third fact, the one we urgently need.

    jan.wall's picture

    More on Utne

    I thought I was the only person who reads Utne! I also read Mother Jones, but perhaps that’s more information about my political persuasion than I should give.

    I also went back and read Mike’s post about why we exist, and should we continue to exist? It hasn’t been all that long that libraries have existed for the public (as a public good, as Rich so eloquently points out.) I read a book (I forget the title, but can find it again) that is a primary source about jobs that existed a century ago: jobs such as wheelwright, ironmonger, etc. that largely don’t exist anymore. Many of the chapters dealt with how people coped as their jobs disappeared beneath their feet. Is there anything that guarantees the further existence of libraries? Not everything lasts forever.