The New Media Consortium (NMC) in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), Hannover, and ETH-Bibliothek Zurich are releasing the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition at a special session of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress 80th General Conference and Assembly. This is the first edition of the NMC Horizon Report that delves into the realm of academic and research libraries in a global context.
The report describes findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving library leaders and staff a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The format of the report was designed to provide these leaders with more in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership, and practice.
“Education professionals across the world have used the higher education editions of the NMC Horizon Report for years as a springboard for discussion around important trends and challenges,” says Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC and co-principal investigator for the project. “Finally we have been able to produce a report aimed directly at the needs of academic and research libraries — and what we have found is that academic and research libraries are leveraging new technology in some very important and creative ways."
Key Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption for Academic and Research Libraries
The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition identifies “Increasing Focus on Research Data Management for Publications” and “Prioritization of Mobile Content and Delivery” as fast trends driving changes in academic and research libraries over the next one to two years. The “Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record” and “Increasing Accessibility of Research Content” are mid-range trends expected to accelerate technology use in the next three to five years; and “Continual Progress in Technology, Standards, and Infrastructure” and the “Rise of New Forms of Multidisciplinary Research” are long-range trends that will be impacting libraries for five years and beyond.
“The trends identified by the expert panel indicate that libraries are doing a better job at making their content and research accessible, whether through mobile apps, enriched catalogs, linking data, and user friendly websites or by creating more spaces and opportunities for discovery,” notes Rudolf Mumenthaler, Professor for Library Science at HTW Chur and co-principal investigator for the report. “The outcomes of the report are very compelling and it is an honor for HTW Chur to be deeply involved in this project.”
Significant Challenges Impeding Technology Adoption In Academic and Research Libraries
A number of challenges are acknowledged for presenting barriers to the mainstream use of technology in academic and research libraries. “Embedding Academic and Research Libraries in the Curriculum” and “Rethinking the Roles and Skills of Librarians” are perceived as solvable challenges — those which we both understand and know how to solve. “Capturing and Archiving the Digital Outputs of Research as Collection Material” and “Competition from Alternative Avenues of Discovery” are considered difficult challenges, which are defined as well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are “Embracing the Need for Radical Change” and “Maintaining Ongoing Integration, Interoperability, and Collaborative Projects,” which are complex to define, much less address.
“ETH-Bibliothek is proud to be a partner of this report,” shares Andreas Kirstein, Vice Director and Head of Media and IT Services at ETH-Bibliothek, and co-principal investigator of the project. “By articulating some of the most daunting challenges that academic and research libraries face, we are already making progress toward solving them.”
Important Developments in Technology for Academic and Research Libraries
Additionally, the report identifies “Electronic Publishing” and “Mobile Apps” as technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. “Bibliometrics and Citation Technologies” along with “Open Content” are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; “The Internet of Things” as well as “Semantic Web and Linked Data” are seen emerging in the third horizon of four to five years.
The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed and conducted by the NMC that engages an international body of experts in libraries, education, technology, research, business, and other fields around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify emerging technologies with a strong likelihood of adoption in academic and research libraries. The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.
“This first library edition of the Horizon Report marks some important evolutionary steps,” says Lambert Heller, head of Open Science Lab at the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), Hannover and co-principal investigator of the project. “Academic and research libraries are now being seen as incubators for experimenting with emerging technologies and are even leading the way at many university campuses across the world.”
The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.
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