Computers in Libraries
Vol. 20, No. 4 • April 2000
I Love It When a Plan Comes Together
by Kathy Miller

I’m pretty happy with the different articles that we’ve pulled together for this issue on Technology Planning. That’s a broad area that can be looked at from a number of different angles. Let me give you a short tour of the angles we’ve covered here.

If you want to start at the beginning, with a basic, point-by-point article that includes solid advice for technology planning, you’ll want to turn to page 42. Jan Baltzer, who has extensive experience in this area, makes the concept of technology planning easy to understand by likening it to a four-legged stool. How does she manage that? You’ll have to read her article to find out.

What about those of you who have made plans to handle technology, then watched them fall flat, then had to start over again with a new idea and a new plan? Think you’re alone? Read Audrey Betcher’s article, aptly titled “Strikeout or Home Run?” and you’ll get a picture of planning and replanning until you get it right. You know what they say: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.... These librarians kept going until they found a good solution for handling overwhelming patron demand for their Internet-enabled PCs. Their solution might work for you, too.

And finally, for those of you who have your technology under control: How far have you looked into the future? Do you know what new technologies are starting to roll in? Are you ready for them? Library guru Stephen Abram offers a heavy article on what’s ahead, what it means to libraries, and what you might want to start doing about it. He uses one particular technology as an example but his thoughts apply to any number of new ideas that will change our industry. Read this when you’re ready to dive into the new wave of software ... or before.

If any of you saw the theme of Technology Planning and thought, “Humbug!” then you might see eye-to-eye with columnist Michael Schuyler. He shares his own tactics for dealing with technology plans (basically: appease your managers with vague promises) and, as usual, doesn’t mince words while he does it! For a fresh viewpoint, check out Andrew Pace’s column. He has a modest proposal for dealing with the need to plan: Simplify, simplify, simplify. What a concept! If practical advice is what you need, it’s Janet Balas to the rescue, as usual, with an Online Treasures column full of pointers to solid resources on the topic at hand. The work she’s done putting this column together could save you a lot of time searching the Net on your own.

So, all in all, we’re providing you with information and ideas on technology planning that cover many viewpoints: Keep your ideas balanced, win through perseverance, look to the future, don’t take it too seriously, simplify it, and research it. Everything you need should be right in this issue. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

Kathy Miller, Editor

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