Current Cites

November 2015

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Warren Cheetham, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant

Arup University. "Future Libraries: Workshops Summary and Emerging InsightsArup  (July 2015)( - Another report on the future of libraries? When one comes from a company such as Arup (a global business covering engineering, design, planning, project management and consulting services) with an impressive global corporate library service, it’s worth taking a look. This attractive and accessible report is based on a series of global workshops with stakeholders from library design, operations and management. Themes of Space, Operations and User Experience are explored, key implications of each theme are highlighted, and also illustrated with case studies. Not much to surprise engaged library practitioners here, but it’s value (and therefore inclusion here) is as a great report to pass on to non-library managers, stakeholders, decision makers and funders. - WC

Coffman, Steve. "The Cloud Catalog: One Catalog to Serve Them AllOnline Searcher  39(6)(November/December 2015)( - The author is known for big ideas. His seminal piece in a 1999 issue of Searcher, "Building Earth’s Largest Library: Driving into the Future," was a stark wake-up call to librarianship while we were still trying to digest the impact of the web. Now he's back again, with another soaring vision for what libraries could collectively do to put us directly in front of our users as the "go to" place for books on the web. Coffman doesn't dream small, so it may take more than one reading to fully grasp what he envisions. But it would be worth it. This is an important idea, and one worth serious consideration by the public libraries to which it is aimed as well as those who might be called upon to help build it. There are clearly many obstacles, but there are corresponding opportunities as well. We would do well to not simply discount Coffman's future. After all, one could argue that OCLC'S WorldCat Local eventually achieved at least part of what he described in his 1999 Searcher piece. In the end what he is saying is that we have a chance to get this right, and he's hoping to find those who can help him to make it happen. I can see libraries flourishing in the world he describes better than I can in the one we presently inhabit. What about you? Disclosure: I am employed by OCLC and this review represents only my personal opinion. - RT

LeBlanc, Paul. "When IT No Longer Remains Anonymous - For All the Right ReasonsEDUCAUSE Review  (Nov. - Dec. 2015): 88-89. ( - The author defines a sort of map or attitude and approach to the role of IT in higher education. Campus IT must be more than simply "keeping the trains running", a thankless task on the order, using a football analogy, of an "anonymous offensive lineman". "[I]n an industry that is changing so quickly," the author explains, "we need IT organizations not only to be supportive but also to be present at the design table, helping shape the innovation strategy for their institutions." This, continuing the author's football analogy, takes on the more coveted role of "star skill player". - LRK

Leetaru, Kalev. "How Much Of The Internet Does The Wayback Machine Really Archive?Forbes  (16 Nov. 2015)( - The Internet Archive is a truly remarkable accomplishment, but how much do we know about how it actually works? If it is to be a scholarly tool, we need to know its biases and weaknesses. In the absence of public information about how the Wayback machine is constructed, Leetaru attempts to figure it out on his own using the Wayback Machine's APIs. Some of his findings are surprising. For example, he discovers that "of the top 15 websites with the most snapshots taken by the Archive thus far this year, one is an alleged former movie pirating site, one is a Hawaiian hotel, two are pornography sites and five are online shopping sites." He notes as well geographic bias in the capture of news outlets. "Taken together," he argues, "these findings suggest that far greater understanding of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is required before it can be used for robust reliable scholarly research on the evolution of the web." - PH

Marcum, Deanna, Roger  Schonfeld, and Sarah  Thomas. Office of Scholarly Communication: Scope, Organizational Placement, and Planning in Ten Research Libraries  New York, NY: Ithaka S+R, 18 November 2015.( - This report summarizes the findings from telephone interviews of staff at ten large research institutions about how they support the scholarly communication function in their libraries. Use two sets of interview protocols, one for library directors and one for the head of the office of scholarly communication or someone with responsibilities in that area. They discovered that most offices tended to use one of the following models: 1) collections-based, 2) research-based, 3) collective ownership, or 4) not an institutional priority. The authors state that "there is no obvious 'best practice' for organizationally locating scholarly communication functions" which may be due in part to the fact that libraries are still attempting to define their roles in this area. - RT

New Media Consortium. NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Library Edition  Austin, TX: New Media Consortium, 2015.( - The New Media Consortium (NMC) has published an annual report on technology trends in higher education since 2006 and a K-12 edition since 2009. In 2010 they added a museum edition, and a library edition in 2014. After three years, in 2008 they looked at "metatrends." Now that we have two library editions, it is instructive to similarly compare trends that appear in both reports. "Semantic Web and Linked Data" moved in the expected direction, from "Four to Five Years" Time-to-Adoption Horizon to "Two to Three years." The most interesting trends are those which went in what might be an unexpected direction, for example: from a "Fast Trend" [Short-Term Impact] in 2014 to a "Mid-Term Impact" [Mid-Range] in 2015, the way that "increasing Focus on Research Data Management" moved. The fact that "Rethinking the Roles and Skills of Librarians" moved from a "Solvable Challenge" in 2014 to a "Difficult Challenge" in 2015 might sound ominous for librarians at first, but they address two different sets of overlapping skills: our role as liaisons and teachers in the former, and the challenge of keeping up with technology in the latter. Even the busiest librarian will not want to omit at least looking over the trending topics in the Table of Contents. It is even more fun to sit with the two latest reports side-by-side and compare. - NN

Rubow, Lexi, Rachael  Shen, and Brianna  Schofield, et. al.Understanding Open Access: When, Why, & How to Make Your Work Openly Accessible  Berkeley, CA: Authors Alliance, 23 November 2015.( - The concept of "open access" may be simple in theory, but in practice things get murky. Part of the problem is that we have been sloppy with language, confusing, for example, "public access" and "open access" or "article" with "accepted manuscript." Institutional open access policies that conflict with common publishing practices and hence put authors at risk if they blindly accept the latter are another course of concern. This new guide from the Authors Alliance and Berkeley Law’s Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic is an overview of the options available to authors who are curious about the possible benefits (and risks) in open access. - PH

The Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software and Society. "Deep Shift: Technology Tipping Points and Societal ImpactWorld Economic Forum  (September 2015)( - Twenty-one big technology trends, and predictions of when the tipping point of each will occur (for example, 80% of people with a digital presence on the internet is expected by 2023) are briefly and clearly outlined, coupled with commentary and lists of expected positive and negative impacts of the trend. The trends and tipping points are based on a survey of over 800 executives and experts from the information and communications technology sector. Trends include; Implantable Technologies, A Supercomputer in Your Pocket, AI and White-Collar Jobs, and Bitcoin and the Blockchain. The report includes an interesting section which groups trends as they are expected to cut across many facets of society and the economy. Of interest are themes of ‘Transparency, Trust and Privacy’ and ‘Organizations, Communities – and the Individual’. - WC