Tech Trends for 2012

Out with old and in with the new.  The Cornflower has posted a nice article on Tech Trends for 2012 based off of what Jason Hiner at Tech Republic and Pete Cashmore of Mashable believe to be trending for the new year.

Here is my Tech Trends for 2012 as it relates to medical libraries:

1. RIM will go out of business or get bought. Blackberrys will go the way of Palm Pilot. Hospital IT departments will be forced to address the iPhone and Android issue.  Of course given the speed at which IT departments have upgraded from IE 6, who knows how long they can delay the inevitable.  (This may not happen exactly in 2012 but it isn’t just my crazy dream either.  It is well documented that RIMs stock is down, the Blackberry has 17% market share, and its PlayBooks are not selling.)

2.Librarians will shift more money toward Patron Driven Aquisition of books.  I don’t see us at the point where our entire book budget is totally PDA, but more and more libraries are experimenting and I think they will be finding it to be a successful method of providing ebooks that they will look to expand it.

3. Facebook will lose its luster with librarians.  The push to put the library on Facebook to connect with users will die out for most.  Only a select few successful libraries with a highly engaged user base will continue. The others will peter out and like the dead blogs of yesteryear will go unupdated and unused haunting the web.

4. Augmented reality will be used more often in the stacks.  Specifically it will be used to highlight libraries digital repositories and online books and journals.  For example somebody browsing the cardiology section of the stacks will be able to see a list of online books and journals, images, sounds, etc. specific to that subject area.  If they move to the nursing section of the stacks they will see the virtual nursing collection.  (This is still kind of an “out there” idea. Notice I didn’t say this would be done by every library in the world, I just think you start to see some libraries doing more experiments with it.)

5. This will be the year of the smartphone.  When my mother says that she is feeling pressure (not from her children but from society) to upgrade to a smartphone, you know that it has hit the masses in a big way.  As a result we will be seeing a whole new user group.  This user group are the late adopters and they may not be as tech savvy as the early adopters who have had smartphones for a while.  This group will be excited about their new phone but also may need some hand holding as they get accustomed to all of the things that the early adopters now take for granted.

What do you predict for 2012?  Tech or non-tech what do you think will be impacting medical libraries?

9 thoughts on “Tech Trends for 2012”

  1. Re #3: This is based on, what, your universal knowledge of how public libraries are actually doing with Facebook? I believe you’re wildly off base here, and that belief is based on actually looking at how more than 5,900 U.S. public libraries are (and aren’t) using Facebook. My book on public library social networking will be out in late 2012, and I strongly believe there will be thousands of library Facebook pages that are maintained and serve the libraries and their communities. Most of them will NOT have “highly engaged” user bases (that is, won’t be getting multiple comments on each post)–and it won’t matter.

  2. OK: I read your post too quickly. You’re only talking about medical libraries. Your prediction still seems unlikely to me–but since I don’t have direct experience with the libraries, I shouldn’t comment.

  3. Hi Walt,
    I personally think the vast majority academic have spent too much time trying to engage users in Facebook when most of their users are not interested in becoming a fan of the library or engaging with the library. What is the point of Facebook for the library if it doesn’t have fans and the few fans it might have aren’t engaged?

    Read the study in D-Lib about the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of Facebook as an Outreach Tool for Academic Libraries.

    According to the study, 91% of library Facebook posts did not generate a single comment! Of those that got feedback most of the feedback was from other librarians (often at the same institution), not students or professors.

    Facebook was found to be a poor method for marketing and outreach. The study says, “However, we must also recognize that students everywhere have certain habits, activities, and social preferences in common when it comes to the tools they choose to benefit their academic work — and based on this this study, most appear to reject connecting with their libraries on Facebook.”

    Additionally medical students and doctors receive very stern messages from the AMA and other medical governing groups about the perils of Facebook and other social media applications so compared to other professions, they are hesitant to engage in SoMe or have extremely locked down accounts. They tend to keep Facebook completely separate from their work life and therefore don’t really engage in work type “likes” of pages, including the library.

    Given these conclusions and my own unofficial observations/research of Facebook and academic medical libraries, the vast majority of academic libraries on Facebook would be better served by librarians doing other outrach and engagement endeavors instead of Facebook.
    I am not the only one who has noticed this and as a result you are going to see fewer efforts aimed at Facebook as a library outreach and marketing tool.

  4. If you add “academic” before “library” in your final sentence, you might be right. My comments on that so-called study are too long to summarize here, but in any case I’m more concerned with public libraries. Although, y’know, if you’re reaching, say, 10% of your patrons with a free-and-easy tool, is it really a failure because most of your potential users aren’t signing up? Maybe that’s true for academic libraries; I wouldn’t know.

  5. What is this augmented reality?? I’m having a hard time following what this is referring to.. any models?

  6. @Chris, not sure about Twitter. I think to a certain extent it is how Twitter is being used as to whether it is “worth it.” I think it is really hitting big with conferences, webinars, and reporting/sharing things.
    In libraries it is all about whether they are expecting the users to come to them or if they are getting the feed to somewhere they already visit and use. The beauty about Twitter is that you can take its RSS feed and really work it for you situation. I have reported where some libs have their catalog send a tweet reporting new book arrivals and this feed is displayed on the library home page in the appropriate area. I know others who use Twitter as library news alert service for when databases are down, change in hours, etc. and this feed is also displayed on the library home page. I have seen other libraries that use it a medical news alert service by subscribing/following various journals and medical/health agencies/governement and displaying that feed on the library home page as headlines in medicine.
    I see those kind of creative uses of Twitter where you can take its feed and repackage it to display in areas where people are already going (like the library home page) as potentially valuable. I think relying on people to follow the library’s Twitter feed or Facebook feed like they is less so. The library is not Charlie Sheen people are not going to think to follow our feed or our pages out curiosity or information, therefore we have repackage it so that it is where they normally go and they don’t have do anything to follow but still get the information. People don’t usually want to go to another site for more information or interaction. If you can repackage that information and send it out to them in a way they already use, that is way more effective.

  7. @Shaloot, augmeted reality is very new, but it offers people to see things/information that normally isn’t visual to the naked eye. In this example cell phone shows an of the city with tags of of names of bars and restaurants with users ratings and distances to those places. As the article mentions in the Netherlands you can use an app called Layar and point your cell phone camera at a building and it will tell you if any companies within that building are hiring.
    Now if you can take jdea and apply it to the library stack. Libraries have a ton of stuff that is online/virtual and that isn’t on the shelves. Yet I know within our library we have a very large group of users who just browse the stacks without ever looking in the catalog. They are missing out on a ton of information such as our online textbooks. Depending on how much online stuff a library collects (image collections, videos, sounds, databases, online journals, etc.) could be a lot of the library’s collection. For example our library used to subscribe to about 900 printed medical journals. We subscribe to about 6 printed medical journals but we have access to thousands of online medical journals that aren’t on the shelves. People who browse the shelves aren’t going to see them. Electronic journals have been around long enough that people do think about them and ask if we have a title (especially if it is a must have well known title) but they tend not to do that with ebooks or other online resources.
    Think of augmented reality as a way to put all of that stuff “on the shelf” for people browse.
    This is a pretty big idea and is fairly technical so I may be way ahead of my time and it might be a predictor for 2020. In 2012 we may see more libraries begin to dip their toes into this concept, whether they officially call it augmented reality is something else.
    Of course I could be totally wrong and off base with this entire trend list and if that is the case then so be it. That is part of the fun with these things, seeing what happens and what doesn’t.

  8. I love your idea of using augmented reality in the library. There are some neat education projects based on the Layar API (e.g., and ).
    I’m trying to imagine how AR might work at the library shelf, though, since most of the examples I’ve seen are based on broader-spaced location points (aka points of interest / POIs) like buildings or rooms. Maybe QR codes could be used as a transition to augmented reality? QR codes don’t require a GPS-enabled device like AR does.
    In any case, great idea. I’m looking forward to seeing future presentations at MLA!

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