Monday, October 25, 2010

Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians

ACRL released a report in June titled, “Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025.” The goal of the report is "to prompt academic librarians to consider what trends may impact the future of higher education in order to take strategic action now." As a librarian/educator, I wholeheartedly agree that watching trends that may impact our future is important, and I was glad to see this report.

A variety of themes are covered in the report and 26 futuristic scenarios are presented. A survey instrument was developed for the purpose of measuring the probability of a scenario, impact (if the scenario were to occur), speed, and whether a scenario represents a threat or opportunity to academic libraries (for the record, I see most change as an opportunity for academic libraries, just not always business as usual).

One of the four scenarios rated as highest in probability, impact and speed is a scenario titled “Right here with me.” In this scenario students use their handheld devices in almost magical ways. The devices sense information, processes are automated, and more. Reading this reminded me of two newer technologies being used in the US, QR codes and augmented reality, which can seem a bit magical as well. These technologies provide access to information on mobile devices without keying in terms to search.

I’ve been following mobile technology trends for some time (see my first mobile test blog using a simple Motorola RAZR phone and $5. data plan) and I’m a strong believer that the digital revolution we're experiencing will be increasingly mobile. Though I'm uncertain of all that will evolve with mobile technologies in the next 5-15 years, QR codes and augmented reality are two mobile technologies that could have a strong impact in libraries and higher education. In the case of QR codes, I think sooner rather than later as early adopters in the U.S. are currently exploring and implementing this technology in their libraries, on campus, and beyond.

This week I'll attend the ACRL-Oregon & Washington Fall Conference 2010. The title, "If we knew today what we'll know tomorrow: Futures thinking for academic libraries," has me excited about learning from others who value looking forward.

I'll be presenting a five minute lightening talk at the ACRL OR/WA conference using the presentation below. This slideshow compliments an article, which will be available in the November publication of C&RL News on QR codes and mobile users. (Update: C&RL News article is now available.)
All posts tagged with "QR Codes"
All posts tagged with "augmented reality"

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