I’ve been doing some research on next generation library technologies and the future of acaedemic libraries. Marshall Breeding (Vanderbilt University) cites that of all the possible sources students can begin their search for data, only 4% of the responding students begin either with their college library portal or their library’s online database. 89% as we would well imagine, begin with search engines.
This only affirms what we’ve been advising our higher ed colleagues for at least 5 years; that Information Literacy is key to effective quality searches. Still, due to the ever-changing landscape of the social web web allowing users to generate and organize content (i.e., tagging, folksonomies, etc.), the manifesto of the next gen academic library starts with the following principles:
- Organize workflows – processes and catalog interfaces – around the needs of the users
- Students want/need to gain access to more of the academic literature with far fewer hurdles than the present-day library online catalogs permit (even as a University instructor, I resist using them when not necessary; simply because providing support to my students on how to access the article is persistently draining)
- They want AmaGoogle search returns recommending multi-media resource options, with options to rate the items
- And they want immediate access to the material (in librarian speak discovery and delivery). Forget Inter-library loans and holding physical items at the reference desk.
If you don’t believe me, watch this video which was filmed in East Melbourne Library and launched the 15th Biennial VALA Conference and Exhibition in Melbourne Australia.