Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Library of the future

Mal Booth, UTS, talked on "How we are taking UTS to the library of the future" at at CCA-EDUCAUSE Australasia 2011 in Sydney.It was refreshing to have a presenter who invited the audience to find the notes for their talk online and read it. Unfortunately as the material is in Slideshare it is very difficult to read and access.

As was said at the Learining Commons forum in Brisbane last week, UTS claims to be at the forefront of the use of RFID in libraries. While criticising the RFID industry for not being innovative, Mal did not actually say what UTS were using it for. At question time I asked and he replied they want to use RFID to track books in the library so they know what is used where. They might have RFID readers on book trolleys and have mobile checkout devices. Mal said that the industry has difficulty with providing this. It did not sound like a very advanced requirement and is something the UTS engineers would be able to produce quickly, even if the library industry could not.

Mal praised the Philological Library at Freie Universit├Ąt, Berlin. He argued that design can be sued to have an open design which discourages inappropriate behaviour without having to have as many walls and doors.

Mal also mentioned the British Library Business and IP Centre, which has materials to help start-up businesses.

What occurred to me was that Mal is showing lots of examples of physical buildings, but few of what the library's online services look like. Most clients will rarely visit the physical library, it will be the online interface they see most (and online materials are what most of the money will be spent on). So more emphasis has to be placed on how the library looks online.

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