Tuesday, November 09, 2010

ALAO 2010: Presidents Program

Stephen Abram was this year's keynote speaker for the President's Program. His presentation Building the New Academic Library, is embedded above and (as promised) are available on SlideShare. Questions posed to the audience during the program:
  1. Is this the end of publishing as we know it?
  2. Is this the end of libraries as we know them?
  3. Where is all this change taking us?
  4. Do people still value the book?
  5. What's next?
  6. What is the role for librarians in our info-future?
I found many points to agree and disagree with as his talk progressed. For instance, a new AU library web site is anticipated next spring; Abram provided snapshot results from a survey conducted revealing "only 29% of users found databases via the library web site,", "72% found trusted our (library) content more than what they found on Google," yet "81% still use Google" first suggests the decision to present our databases in a quick search environment could be a good one (slide 20). This personal conclusion, open to wide interpretation by all concerned with the results of said redesign, will be put to the test when the site is live. Much relies on how the site is presented and how we - library faculty and staff - are willing to handle the change internally. As Abram mentioned, our relationship with the user, online and in person, will need to be consistently re-examined.

Discussion relating to the end of the book as we know it was not (and is not) a point of agreement. Maybe in this instance the phrase 'as we know it' should be given more thought. Books are evolving to a more technology based format and have been for some time. In the last ten year's I've purchased books on cassette, books on CD, books with accompanying cassettes, CD's and DVD's. Electronic books have allowed texts to be included within online instruction, I'm a big an of Safari Tech books, audio of books may be downloaded and circulated, and we are quickly moving toward sharing between e-book users. However, as the internet is still in its infancy (slide 13), in many ways so is the concept and delivery of electronic books.

Take a few minutes to peruse Stephen Abrams presentation, there is a great deal of food - and books - for thought.

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