Libraries: The Next Generation
by Dick Kaser
When I tell people outside the library community that I edit a publication called Computers in Libraries, I can’t tell you how many times the response is, “Well there’s something that’s going extinct, what with the internet and all … ”
That libraries have it rough is true. But, as Marshall Breeding reminds us in his column this month, there have been many changes in libraries over many decades, and many generations of library technology have swelled like waves, but librarians have always risen to the challenge and ridden them out.
In recent years, there’s been great excitement around the so-called next-gen library systems: platforms that go beyond automating back-office functions and front desk transactions to deliver seamless user experiences for knowledge seekers.
In this issue, we step outside the hype cycle to take a look at how far we’ve come in our desire to transform the user experience. Are librarians really taking the bold step of migrating to the new platforms that are often nestled in the proverbial cloud? And do the new discovery layers really work to get users to the right results?
The research our authors present may surprise you. But, in a word, yes. Yes, we are keeping in step. Yes, we are evolving. Yes, we are remaining relevant. And no, we are not going extinct.
To learn more, please join us at our conferences this month, Internet Librarian in Monterey, Calif., and Internet Librarian International in London. Hope to see you there