What Will 2011 Bring to Medicine or Medical Libraries?

I decided to take a little bit longer break from blogging and online life than originally intended.  The holidays set me back a little bit and I had to catch up work and at home.  But I am back and will be posting regularly until the beginning of February sometime.  Why then?  For those of you that don’t know, I am expecting my 3rd child and (cross my fingers) I will be on maternity leave then.  

As the new year has started and I have experience or will be experiencing some new things in 2011, I thought it would be interesting to come up with a guess list of what 2011 will bring for medicine or medical libraries.  This is meant to be a brainstorming list and I will start it off but feel free to comment and your thoughts.

Shrinkage – More and more libraries will experience a loss of space or re-purposing of this space.  This not new but I think we will see an acceleration in this area.  Even my own library will be facing it this year, something I don’t think I would have ever expected when the built the “new” library about 12 years ago.  Shrinking footprints is never an easy thing to think about right away but in reality it may not be as horrible as you might think.  The first instinct is to react in fear but good results can come out of it.  It all depends on the approach(es) you and your institution approach the situation. 

Smartphone volatility – The smartphone market is booming and Verizon’s poorly held iPhone secret will just add to the ever expanding phone and network choices for consumers.  With the expanding use of smartphones comes the increase in medical apps.  More doctors will be carrying smartphones and will want to use their favorite medical apps at the bedside (or at least in the office).  Unfortunately many hospital IT departments have been slow to adopt smartphones for clinical use or to allow them on their wifi.  Personally the Great Lakes were formed faster.  IT’s glacial pace combined with medical professionals desire to use the phones will make for some interesting institutional culture clashes.

Facebook and Twitter appetite - These two sites will continue on their gobbling up of other social application sites.  Perhaps not directly but indirectly.  RSS feeds and Delicious were huge a few years ago, now Bloglines and Delicious have gone the way of the dodo or were sold to other companies and are clinging to life.  The main reason for these sites demise, people don’t use them like they once did.  They collect, organize, and share stories through Facebook and Twitter.  Power users will always miss them but the vast majority of internet users have moved on.  I know they have been saying the blog is dead and I have agreed the traditional blog is dead.  However I see Facebook taking over more of the non traditional blogging and I also see it replacing the common website.  More and more hospitals are seeing increased traffic via Facebook, they are now measuring it along with the traffic they get from Google and they are paying attention.  Traffic from Facebook to institutions is growing a lot.

So what are your thoughts?  What do you see happening in 2011?

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