Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
Statement of Competency
Librarians must be able to keep up with the trends in technology particularly those that involve better ways to provide information and communicate more efficiently to a wider audience.
Waheed (2014) has defined Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as “a diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information” (Waheed, 2014, Slide 5). Another definition of ICT is “hardware and software that enable society to create, collect, consolidate and communicate information in multimedia formats and for various purposes” (UNESCO ICTLIP, 2001, Slide 5). Librarians and information professionals need to keep abreast of trends in ICT. Advances in ICTs has changed the format and modes of access to information resources in libraries making more information available faster than ever before (Kadli, 2013, p. 5). ICTs have also changed the way information is processed and communicated and library services have largely become automated as more and more electronic resources are incorporated. Librarians who want to keep up with trends in technology should check websites like Library of the Future, Library Information Technology Association (LITA) and the ALA TechSource Blog. I personally subscribe to a lot of newsletters from ALA, ASIS&T, Information Today, and Library Journal to get the latest technology news for libraries.
Identification of ICTs
In the digital age, libraries have integrated various types of technologies in order to provide premium services to users and automate library functions for themselves. These include tools for capturing information such as scanners, digital cameras, and barcode scanners. Databases are used for information storage and retrieval for books, articles, and reports. Libraries also use digital library software like Greenstone and library automation packages like InMagic, even open source ones like KOHA (Waheed, 2014, Slide 14). Librarians had to learn new skills and adapt to the changing technological environment to be able to use electronic resources and access tools, respond to new user information, and participate in the national, regional, and global infrastructure (UNESCO, 2002, Slide 23, 29). The rapid changes in ICTs require continued training. For example, when I was working in a library, I learned how to use two library software systems: Accent and Workflows, not to mention several Windows and Office upgrades.
As everyone knows libraries had to adapt to the growing ubiquity of social media. Libraries have learned to leverage social media in promoting literacy skills. Kumbhar (2014) cited Colburn & Haines (2012) who suggested that libraries can use social media to increase viewership by frequently and strategically featuring online video content. They also found that Twitter allows library staff to reach and interact with library users and provide them basic information and assistance. Kumbhar also writes that emerging technologies such as the internet, web technology, computer-based educational games, wearable data capturing devices, hardware and software developments are affecting every aspect of higher education (p. 478).
The Library of the Future identified the top trends for 2015 that are relevant to libraries and librarianship. These are the technology trends: Data Everywhere, Drones, Haptic Technology, Internet of Things, and Robots. Data Anywhere:According to the New Media Consortium Horizon Report – Library Edition (2014) new technologies have improved the opportunities to collect, store, and analyze customer and personal data to improve products and services. However, this brings the challenge of helping users navigate access, including copyright and intellectual property rights. Drones: Futurist Frey (2014) said “drones could help improve outreach efforts by delivering resources to geographically isolated or homebound.” Haptic Technology: Another technology trend is haptic technology which incorporates tactile experience or feedback as part of its user interface, creating a sense of touch through vibrations, motion or other forces. Bethke (2015) writes that “haptic technology could revolutionize online or distance education, allowing students to participate in hands-on tactile activities or exercises or even simulate physical environments. The Internet of Things is comprised of smaller computing and radio devices, often unseen or built into objects, will sense and transmit data offering get greater control of and connectivity between objects. The interconnection of devices and data they produce can be leveraged to create useful intelligence that when transmitted back, will help automate services and experiences provided by these devices. Robots: Waldman (2014) predicts that robots are predicted to appear at work, education, research and living spaces. Several libraries, like the Westport Library, have introduced robots into their community technology offerings.
Advances in learning management systems which allow learning analytics can help libraries in knowing which students are doing well as well as at-risk students. The results of learning analytics can also be used by academic libraries to develop a ‘reader development index’ and ‘information/reading packages for challenged/exceptional students’ (Kumbhar, 2014, p. 481).
Kumbhar (2014) also cited Pollack (2012) who said there is a demand for librarians with more advanced skills in searching, data mining, and analysis. She called these librarians “science informationists.” These librarians build systems through their collaboration with knowledge creators and work with publishers to improve standards, platforms, and publication models. In 2012, the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee prophesized that libraries will play valuable role in this collaborative learning environment as data curation challenges are increasing as standards for all types of data continue to evolve; more repositories, many of them cloud-based, will emerge; librarians and other information workers will collaborate with their research communities to facilitate this process (p. 481).
Using ICTs in Libraries
Libraries are early adopters of technology and use ICTs in a variety of library functions. Waheed (2014) enumerates the various areas of library activities that involve ICTs such as acquisitions, serial management, cataloging, circulation, management/budgeting, information storage/retrieval, and reference/information services (Waheed, 2014, Slide 11, 17-18). The library automation software alone handles several of these functions. It is used for acquisitions to add new items to the collection (and also to remove them), serial management, cataloging, and its database supports the OPAC system so users can browse the library’s holdings and retrieve what they need. It is also used for circulation like issuing items, interlibrary loans, reservation, and generating overdue reports (Slide 16).
Librarians also have to know how to use software that most students use, like Microsoft Office, citation tools, and the school’s learning management system, not to mention be an expert on the library’s different databases. In my visit to the National Institutes of Health Research Library, the librarian should us how to use a 3D printer. She had to train on its use to assist scientists who create models of minute things, like genomes. Another librarian is an expert in the software for sequencing genomes. They needed to learn the technology to better serve the fellows and researchers.
Libraries and librarians must cope with the demands of an information society. Because of ICTs, libraries can provide access to digital information in multiple copies simultaneously over information networks in fractions of a second. There is no need for users to be physically in the library; they can use their own PCs to access the information. Digital information often modifies librarians’ roles in various ways. Librarians must have the knowledge, skills, and tools in handling digital information to be efficient creators, collectors, consolidators and communicators of information. Librarians with these skill sets are key in enabling the library to perform its role as an information support system for society (UNESCO, 2001, Slide 11).
Evaluation of Current and Emerging Technologies
In a world of ever changing technology, libraries must reassess their collection practices and strategies. The ACRL Environmental Scan for 2015 recommends diversification of scholarly records, e.g. learning materials/objects, open access materials, etc. (ACRL, 2015, p. 3). The essential criteria in evaluating ICT resources is user need. An increasing number of libraries have been subscribing to streaming video and audio services like Kanopy, Alexander Street Press, and Naxos, to meet student and faculty demand. Buying a 3D printer is justified for a library who has a sustainable makerspace project. The Hunt Library at North Carolina State University provides access to large-scale visualization techniques, a game lab, decision theaters, video and audio studios, and a makerspace equipped with a laser cutter and 3D printer. This is all reasonable because it offers degrees in architecture, industrial design, engineering, computer science, and graphic design. The ACRL Environmental Scan (2015) suggests that libraries strive to offer opportunities to students to be creative and innovative in a high tech environment. However, this requires strategic planning and solid framework to ensure continued support for the services to keep them up-to-date as well as establish policies and guidelines (p. 17-18).
The Scan (2015) also advises that libraries should always consider user needs and information-seeking behaviors when developing or selecting discovery systems. New developments include open source discovery applications that enable users to search across catalogs, repositories, and digital libraries and view a range of materials and format (p. 14-15). Libraries especially those that support large institutions should also make sure that their ICT resources have the added benefit of making data discoverable and connected. ACRL cites the works of Lampert & Southwick (2014) and Kraff & Corson-Rickert (2014) who write that linked data is about making connections between related data using the semantic web. Therefore it is important that ICTs enable libraries to employ Resource Description Framework (RDF), Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards for data management because this empowers researchers to make new connections between related data and facilitate the creation of new knowledge (p. 15).
ICT resources should be evaluated for its cost-effectiveness. There is always that “nice to have” list but reality is with limited library budgets, it is better to go with something practical. Librarians have to make tough decisions when purchasing new equipment or if already equipped, whether to upgrade or not. Sometimes, keeping current equipment turns out more expensive if it consumes more electricity, is not efficient, or needs constant technical repair.
Aside from need and cost, another element that should be considered is the ICT skills of the users. Some ICT resources have a high learning curve and both staff and library users may not be able to cope. Changing ICTs can be a challenge because staff have to step into new roles and may require training to acquire necessary skills. It is up to the supervisor to determine the ICT skills of the staff to make sure they are not underplaying or exaggerating their skills. In addition to these criteria, librarians can do their own research by reading library technology websites and magazines, particularly those that provide reviews. It’s also a good idea to ask colleagues, particularly system librarians or technical services librarians.
Justification of Evidence
- Data Visualization (LIBR 246 – Big Data Analytics)
Data visualization is an ICT skill that is becoming necessary for many librarians. Data visualization makes data understandable. This is one my first forays in data visualization. The assignment gave me an opportunity to explore and research one significant phase in the big data pipeline. In this case, I was working with the data set called “World Country Military Expenditure.” I used the web-based visualization platform made by IBM Research called Many Eyes. I had to answer three questions: 1) how has military expenditure changed over the years for the United States 2) show the military expenditure distribution geographically on a world map and find any trend over the years or any outliers in a specific year plus any insights from the visualizations 3) and characterize how different countries have invested in military expenditures over the years. So my artifact shows different visualizations and my observations. The Rochester Regional Library Council (2015) states that visualization can be a powerful and compelling way to convey information and to reveal complex patterns in data. Many libraries are beginning to explore how they can help their users develop skills in creating visualizations and provide services and tools for creating visualizations. One of their efforts in educating librarians is through webinars like the “Data Visualization Skills and Tools for Librarians.” Data visualization can also be used by libraries as a reporting tool, for example, it can used to show a graphic image of library statistics.
- Libraries and Big Data – A Case Study (LIBR 246 Big Data Analytics)
This artifact is also from my Big Data Analytics class and in it I examined the role libraries play in curating and making big data discoverable. Big data has created a big buzz in recent years. The OCLC’s WorldCat database of global library holdings is an international catalog that enables users to find items closest to their location. WorldCat is part of an effort to weave big data with web interoperability. Although library statistics is not really big data, bibliographic data is. Tim Berners-Lee (2009) states that bibliographic data can truly be part of the semantic web by using universally accepted schemas and data models. This is important because we want to make our collections to be discoverable. Currently, the Library of Congress is working on the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME) which is data model for bibliographic description. It is designed to replace the MARC standards. It uses linked data principles to make bibliographic data more useful both within and outside the library community (Miller, et al. 2012, p. 3-4). So essentially we are moving away from a document-based environment to more dynamic interrelated links. Librarians can use big data to analyze and make better decisions as to what are useful reference databases, relevant journal collections and trending library apps.
- Evaluation of Presentation Software (ARL CEP Fellowship at NLM)
This is the culmination of a project that was given to me while I was at the National Library of Medicine. I was asked to review presentation software and come up with recommendation as to what will work best with their current learning management system. The first thing I did was go to educational websites and read reviews of the top presentation software. I then tested a dozen and a half software which included Adobe Captivate, iSpring, Raptivity, etc. to see which gives the best user experience, if it’s cost-effective, what are the available features, license terms and if it can integrate with the LMS. I feel this artifact is a good exercise in identifying, using and evaluating trending software. Also, presentations are important information and communication tools not just in education but also in business and many other industries.
ACRL. (2015). Environmental scan 2015. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/publications/whitepapers/EnvironmentalScan15.pdf
ACRL Research Planning & Review Committee (2012). 2012 top trends in academic libraries. College and Research Libraries News, 73(6), 311-320.
Berners-Lee, T. (2009). Linked data. Retrieved from http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/LinkedData.html.
Bethke, R. (2015). How Stanford is incorporating touch for online learning. eCampus News. Retrieved from http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/hapkit-touch-online-323/
Burrus, D. (2014). The internet of things is far bigger than anyone realizes. Wired. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2014/11/the-internet-of-things-bigger/
Collins, S. (2015). Data visualization skills and tools for librarians. Retrieved from http://rrlc.org/events/data-visualization-skills-and-tools-for-librarians-webinar-viewing/
Frey. T. (2014). 192 future uses for flying drones. FuturistSpeaker. Retrieved from http://www.futuristspeaker.com/2014/09/192-future-uses-for-flying-drones/
Kadli, J.H. & Kumbhar, B.D. (2013). Library resources, services and information seeking behavior in a changing ICT environment: A literature review. Library and Philosophy Practice (e-journal). Paper 951, 1-28. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/951
Kraff, D.B. & Corson-Rikert, J. (2014). Linked data for libraries: How libraries can make use of linked open data to share information about library resources and to improve discovery, access, and understanding for library users. LITA Forum Preconference, Albuquerque, NM.
Kumbhar, R. (2014). Academic library’s responses to emerging trends in higher education. DESIDOC Journal of Library and Information Technology, 34(4), 477-485.
Lampert, C.K. & Southwick, S.B. (2013). Leading to linking: Introducing linked data to academic library digital collections. Journal of Library Metadata, 13(2/3), 250-253. Library of the Future. (2015). Trends. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/future/trends#Organization_and_Classification of Trends
Miller, E. Ogbuji, U., Mueller, V. & MacDougall, K. (2012). Bibliographic framework as web of data: Linked data model and supporting services. Report. Library of Congress.
New Media Consortium. (2014). Horizon Report – 2014 Library Edition. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/publications/2014-horizon-report-library
Pollock, L. (2012). Data management: Librarians or science informationists? Nature, 490, p. 343.
UNESCO ICTLIP. (2001). Module 1. Why do librarians need to know about ICT and acquire skill in its use? Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/sri1981/impact-of-ict-on-libraries
UNESCO ICTLIP. (2002). Module 3. Information seeking in an electronic environment. PowerPoint. UNESCO. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/webworld/publications/ictlip3/lesson1.ppt
Waheed, A (2014). Impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on libraries. PowerPoint. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/asifwaheed1977/impact-of-ict-on-libraries-31029814?related=1
Waldman, L. (2014). Coming soon to the library. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/articles/coming-soon-to-the-library-humanoid-robots-1412015687