[WEB4LIB] The next 5 years of web development
dan at 84.com
Tue Jun 1 01:39:05 EDT 1999
At 09:29 AM 5/31/99 -0700, Jonathan Esterhazy wrote:
>Does anybody know of any articles that discuss how the web will impact
>academic libraries in areas like services, collections, and internal
>operations/workflow? I'm looking for something that looks forward to the
>next 4 or 5 years, that might help us plan our web development strategy over
>the same time frame.
>It needn't be a published or even polished document, though such would be
Well, this is off the top late at night, and definitely unpolished. I
trust others will add in their nickels worth as well. If a number of
people on this list haven't already written such an article, they could have.
Internal: Continuing Intranet development. Intranets will include all
manuals, policies, procedures, documentation, statistics, meeting
minutes. No more three ring binders except on the shelves of those who
insist on printing it all for "archival purposes" or because they can't
deal with the change. Training and retraining of staff will become
increasingly important as ever more services and software are implemented.
Public service: Well over half of journals received electronically on the
web, with many fewer than now in paper. This will include subscriptions to
journals purchased separately, as well as licensed services/databases from
content aggregators of all types. There will continue to be struggles with
issues of which services the library should provide and which should be
provided by other information handling agencies on campus. Reference
librarians will struggle with changes in their service patterns. Counts of
face-to-face encounters in a "reference room" will continue to decline, as
will "door counts" and "circulation counts". More reference service will
be handled via telephone, email, chat and other conferencing systems.
Technical services: There will be some resistance to cataloging all of
these new electronic services, particularly those available from
aggregators, as the contents of any aggregating service is a moving
target. It will take convincing some that this problem is not really much
different from the problems with print journals. At least they won't have
to worry about claiming issues that are lost in the mail, or replacing
those stolen by patrons. Academic library catalogs will be web-based, but
telnet versions will be maintained for those who want the "traditional
version". Libraries will permit telecommuting by the "catalogers" who
handle web-based services.
Collection Development: As ever more services become electronic it will
create a real struggle between faculty who want printed materials and those
who want electronic access. Licensing issues will continue to be
contentious until a fairly standard model becomes common in three to five
years. Libraries will continue to apply pressure on database providers who
have excessive pricing models for web delivery (APA and ACS are prime
examples); the providers will eventually realize that they must change.
Campus: Ever more instruction will be based on the web and delivered to
distant students (or nearby students who don't come to campus much). The
emphasis on providing continuing education services, both formal and
informal, will increase. This will meet resistance from traditionalist
faculty and librarians. As ever more instruction becomes web-based the
library will have to decide if it is a true learning center, or wants to
concentrate on simply providing traditional services. Those choosing the
former will thrive.
Top administrators will continue to experiment with alternative
organizations of information services on campuses. They'll find that any
structure can work if the right people are in place to make it
work. Therefore, some "libraries" will merge with some "computer centers",
while other mergers will fragment. The same issues will continue to
develop between "libraries" and "instructional media" operations as well.
These are just a few quick thoughts. I might change my mind in the light
of day. o-) [not really likely, but I'll be interested in the comments of
Good, Fast, and Cheap: Which two of the three would you like?
Dan Lester, 3577 East Pecan, Boise, ID 83716 USA 208-383-0165
dan at 84.com http://www.84.com/ http://www.idaholibraries.org/
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