I’m always interested in learning about how new technology can be used to organize, locate, and share information in creative and innovative ways (since hey, librarians need to stay one step ahead of millennials and AI looking to put us out of a job). I recently watched a recorded webinar from the Medical Library Association (MLA) called Scanning the Horizon: Emerging Technology at Your Library and in the Classroom, where Emily Hurst, AHIP, of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences in Richmond discusses how librarians can stay on top of emerging technologies that may be used to improve library services.
Here are four free information resources I learned about during the webinar that I know I’ll be checking occasionally to keep informed about emerging technology trends:
- Horizon Reports: The New Media Consortium (NMC) periodically publishes Horizon Reports that summarize emerging technology trends for libraries, museums, K-12, and higher education. For instance, the 2017 Library Edition of the report identifies “Important Developments in Technology for Academic and Research Libraries” as Big Data, digital scholarship technologies, library services platforms, online identity, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things.
- Gartner Hype Cycle: Hurst began the webinar by introducing the audience to the Gartner Hype Cycle, which tracks the “hype cycle” of emerging technologies. Gartner, Inc. posts a chart of the Gartner Hype Cycle annually, with new technologies plotted at different points along the cycle’s trend line. The 2017 Gartner Hype Cycle lists Smart Dust at the very beginning of the cycle, deep learning at the Peak of Inflated Expectations, augmented reality in the Trough of Disillusionment, and virtual reality headed up the Slope of Enlightenment. More articles and commentary on emerging technologies can be found under the Trends section of the Gartner website.
- EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI): ELI offers publications related to technology trends in higher education, such as the 7 Things You Should Know About…™ series that highlights popular new technologies like video walls, augmented reality/virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and more.
- Library of the Future Blog: This blog from the American Library Association (ALA) was recommended by one of the attendees at the webinar. I especially like the weekly round-up of headlines (titled “Read for Later…”) related to emerging technology in libraries.
I’ll be adding these sites to my rotation of information resources I check regularly for library news. Other places where I normally learn about emerging technology trends in libraries include Twitter and from MLA conferences.