The video Did You Know? (based on the original “Shift Happens” video) identifies a number of shifts or trends that will have a profound influence on how we behave as digital citizens. In this post I outline 5 key trends that will become expectations on the part of our customers and thus have policy implications for public libraries like my own in South East Queensland.
- Mobile devices – expectation that everything can be accessed from mobile device
- Reading online will become the norm – eBooks/eNewspapers/eMagazines.
- Social media searching – as more people engage with social media, more and more information seeking will begin with searches on social media.
- Finding rather than searching – increased sophistication of search engine technology
- Big Data – as technology to analyse the vast amount of data collected about our lives online becomes available this will enable “fine grained” personalised services with resultant trade-offs in privacy.
The mobile revolution has seen the library develop a mobile app to streamline access to the OPAC, however the first consideration needs to be that home pages will run effectively on any device. The library offers training on mobile devices for members of the public and staff members are able to borrow mobile devices. As a customer I expect the library to support my use of mobile devices by offering a wi-fi service to library users and the loan of eReaders and other mobile devices to patrons. As a library we need to develop policy to support this access (Rubin, 2004).
Those who read on portable devices are among those who read the most (Australian Council for the Arts, 2013). The library recognises this and in common with many libraries in Australia offers Ebooks and eAudioBooks through services like Overdrive with plans in the near future to offer access to eMagazines through a similar service. As a user I would expect this to continue and for more titles to become available. Systems providing access to eNewspapers should also be explored. Collection development policies need to reflect this trend by lending more weight to acquiring eLibrary resources.
Everyday information seeking behaviour now encompasses Social Media searching (Lampe, Vitak, Gray & Ellison, 2012) with many using social sites to answer health or “how to” type questions. As a user I want reliable trusted information sources such as those available at libraries to become more visible through social media. Library policy initiatives should aim to improve discoverability of their resources through these channels.
As the technology behind searching becomes more advanced it will become even more important to “enhance the information experience” (Abram, 2007); libraries need policies around how they will provide access to their collections to assist finding of information rather than searching. As a user I expect a search engine to offer me alternate or “correct” spellings – as a library we need to offer an interface to our collections that provides this.
The Big Data trend is something of a two edged sword. As a customer I expect to be able to sign up for customised suggestions but am cautious about giving up my privacy. Libraries do need to collect more data if they are to provide services like readers advisory (such as that provided by amazon.com) but policy needs to take account of individuals’ rights to keeping that information private. A balance needs to be struck (Dearnley & Feather (2001). Libraries’ role as advocates and educators in the realm of digital literacy need to be matched with appropriate policy.
More reading on Trends? Try the following
Stephens Lighthouse – Mobile, social and big data; the intersection of the internets three defining trends [Blog post]
Forbes’ Shama Kabani – Top 5 digital trends for 2014 [Blog Post]
Abram, S. (2007). Out front with Stephen Abram: a guide for information leaders. American Library Association.
Australian Council for the Arts. (2013). A changing story: trends in reading amongst Australians [Fact sheet]. Retrieved from http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/resources/reports_and_publications/artforms/literature/fact-sheet-trends-in-reading-among-australians
Dearnley, J. & Feather, J. (2001). Information policy. In The wired world : an introduction to the theory and practice of the information society (pp. 60-93). London: Library Association.
Lampe, C., Vitak, J., Gray, R., & Ellison, N. (2012, May). Perceptions of facebook’s value as an information source. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3195-3204). ACM.
Rubin, R. E. (2004). Information policy as library policy : intellectual freedom. In Foundations of library and information science (2nd ed.) (pp. 179- 215). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.