Friday, March 4, 2011

Horizon Report 2011 - are we getting closer to a tipping point?

Just found this in draft in blogger, publishing it before blogging about CCA-Educause 2011 and being embarrassed by how wrong I was!

Educause's latest Horizon Report has just been released, identifying technologies emerging in the short in medium term that will have significant impact on the higher education sector.

I usually head straight for the 'within 12 months' section – QULOC-ICT maintains a watching brief on whatever is listed, but this year I found the trends section thought-provoking. In my library career the changes I've seen are largely in the delivery of services, not in the services themselves, so a print index arguably delivered the same service as Summon does now and IM reference is still recognisably reference.

Now I think in the academic library sector we approaching a point where the services we deliver will change to meet the massive changes in clients and stakeholder expectations and needs, and the technologies they use.

We saw hints of the changing landscape in our last JCU Library Planning Day, with Helen Hooper's presentation on the work done embedding information literacy into coursework (and her recent success with ICAS) and the focus on research services. We've always managed resources, and access to them, but we will also be managing relationships, trust, and sense-making increasingly.

Ubiquitous access not just to resources but to services and coaching will be the default; ubiquitous in terms of time of day and week, but also regardless of the device being used to for access, or the location of the client.

We will need to be increasingly flexible, rapidly forming collaborative teams across traditional library silos, often geographically disparate, and with partners outside our institutions to implement projects; and then just as rapidly fold the team when the project goals have been achieved.

Our skills in digital media have to be hyped up so we can fulfil our curatorial role, our ability to advise and help clients using these technologies, and to construct materials to provide continuously available coaching.

Evaluation of new services and resources has to be built into delivery at the design phase, not tacked on as an afterthought. We need to be able to quickly determine impact to rapidly detect problems, continuously improve services, and demonstrate to budget setters, strategy setters and policy makers the ROI of the service.

For the record the two technologies approaching mainstream this year according to the Report are electronic books and mobile devices. Over the next horizon are augmented reality and game-based learning (2-3 years) and in 4-5 years they are predicting wide use of gesture-based computing and learning analytics.

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