Guest editorial: Emerging technology as an enabler

amy posted this November 22nd, 2010 | filed under: 2.0 fun, inspire me! | Tags: | 1 comment »

[posted with permission from Feliciter 56(5)]

It is probably safe to say that emerging technology is a topic that is amply covered in our professional parlance. There are journals, magazines, blogs, social networks, conferences, workshops, and courses devoted to the many aspects of emerging technology that impact the way we deliver resources and services to our user communities. So in putting together this special issue on emerging tech, we were tempted to cast our net widely and collect stories that highlighted the best and most innovative examples of emerging tech in use in Canada’s libraries today. After all, who doesn’t love being regaled by tales of the newest, shiniest technologies they have never heard of?

Not the two of us, surely. We are both on the early-adopter end of the spectrum and we both sport our “geek” badges proudly. We have been known to get excited about everything from the newest gadget to the latest W3C specification (HTML 5, anyone?). So we would be the first to admit that emerging technologies are exciting, fun, and most importantly, what make us love our jobs. However, the very last thing we wanted to do was pull together an issue on emerging tech that focused JUST on the tech. Not only would such an issue be outdated the moment it hit your doorstep (such is the pace of technology development), but such an issue would also miss the point pretty spectacularly. The point? That emerging tech is as much about people as it is about the technology itself. It’s about what technology enables people to find, do, learn, create, share, and accomplish.

For this issue, we’ve pulled together a slate of articles that highlight some thoughtful ways in which libraries are harnessing emerging technologies to enable their user communities to accomplish all those things. Cecily Walker kicks things off with her discussion of what should be one of our most important considerations when thinking about how our users interact with us, regardless of whether the touch-point is virtual or in person, with her article entitled A User Experience Primer. In Building Communities with Large Group Methods and Social Media, Ryan Deschamps provides insight into some ways in which libraries can truly position themselves as community builders and enablers by borrowing ideas and practices from the world of social media. John Fink takes a growing trend in academic libraries and applies a technology to assist in the solution in his article, Using a Local Chat Server in your Library. Rob Zylstra and Stephanie Thero show us how they used a very user-centred approach to developing for a brand new technology to respond to community needs in their article, Libraries Evolve to Stay Connected: Building the YourLibrary iPad App. And finally, in Livres numériques : Le papier est la meilleure plateforme, Patrick Lozeau reminds us that the sky may not be falling when it comes to printed books.

We hope this issue leaves you with plenty of thoughtful ideas about how you can use technology to enable your community to find, do, learn, create, share, and accomplish.

– Amy Buckland & Amanda Etches-Johnson, Guest editors

One Comment on “Guest editorial: Emerging technology as an enabler”

  1. 1 Feliciter issues on emerging technologies « CLA Emerging Technologies Interest Group said at 2:08 pm on November 22nd, 2010:

    […] Emerging technology as an enabler (guest editorial) – Amy Buckland & Amanda Etches-Johnson […]

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