Library Technology Trends are transforming how librarians work. Librarians can now provide a better user experience and stay ahead of the curve thanks to advancements in cloud-based library solutions, artificial intelligence, and digital resources. This blog post will look at seven Library Technology Trends that are changing the way librarians work and how they are using these innovations to provide a modern library service to their users.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful technology that has recently garnered a lot of attention. We’ve been using AI at Bailey Solutions for a while now to create chatbots for our websites and to help us write articles like this. This article was written with the help of Anyword, a data-driven text generator or copywriting tool. It helps me write faster and ensures that the text is appropriate for my audience.
So, how can librarians use artificial intelligence in their libraries? To begin, librarians, like us, can add chatbots to their library websites and generate text more quickly for a variety of purposes. However, more exciting developments are on the horizon that will disrupt librarians’ jobs while improving the user experience. Artificial intelligence, for example, could be used in libraries to curate and recommend relevant digital resources, such as ebooks, to their users. Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to improve the user experience of cloud-hosted library solutions by suggesting more relevant search terms and displaying more useful content.
As librarians gain confidence in using AI in their work, they will be able to explore new ways to use the technology to benefit their users. Machine learning and image and sound recognition are already being used to analyze digital collections, identify topics and entities, and assign metadata. Librarians are also collaborating with machine learning technologies to improve classification schemes in order to improve search and recall precision. Read this article by Lauren Hays at Lucidea for more information on the use of AI in libraries. Lauren provides a number of useful links to additional resources on the use of AI in libraries.
Digital resources have grown in popularity among library users over the last two decades, particularly since the COVID pandemic. Users can search for and access information quickly and easily using digital resources, whether they are on-site or working remotely. Libraries can provide a more comprehensive user experience beyond the physical space of the library by making a large selection of books, articles, and other types of content available online. Read Alison Million’s article about the transition to digital resources in legal libraries over the last twenty years for more information.
As digital access expands, librarians will have more time to assist users in gaining access to digital resources. Another key Library Technology Trend that eliminates barriers to digital access is single sign-on. When users are logged in, it is simple to monitor digital resource usage and obtain qualitative data. Librarians use data analytics to gain insights into the collective behavior and preferences of their users. This enables them to improve their services and resources and make evidence-based decisions.
Another library technology trend that vastly improves the user experience when searching the library catalogue is faceted search and discovery. For a long time, retail sites such as Amazon and other book websites provided painless searching for untrained users, whereas library systems required the user to use Boolean operators, wildcards, truncation symbols, and other code-like tools. Modern library systems allow users to type a word or phrase and then search for it using facets or smart filters. They are referred to as “smart filters” because they are only revealed when resources are available. The filters enable the user to quickly narrow down their search results without the risk of receiving no results. Format, subject, location, author, and publisher are examples of facets or filters. With searching this simple, advanced searching will almost become obsolete for everyone except the trained researcher or information professional.
The demand for responsive library system interfaces is increasing. Modern libraries should have interfaces that are compatible with smartphones, tablets, and laptops, so that the design of the webpage changes to accommodate these devices. Users can search the catalogue, borrow materials, and check account information from any device, whether they are on-site or working remotely. Library administrators are unlikely to use mobile devices, but they could benefit from a tablet for roving library services and stock checks away from their desks. However, the majority of their work will be done on desktop computers.
Library automation is the process of streamlining a library’s operations. It entails making use of functions in your library system to improve the efficiency with which library managers catalogue their collections, track users, circulate materials, and handle other administrative tasks. Cataloguing tasks can be delegated to library assistants or volunteers using library automation, leaving the librarian with only the task of checking the catalogue records and assigning subject terms and classifications.
This means cataloguing can be done more efficiently and accurately. Other tasks, such as sending out overdue loan notices, alerts when new items are added to the library, and alerts to library staff, can also be automated. Automation reduces errors and saves time for employees. It also allows them to focus on improving customer service and adding value to other library services.
Another method for automating library operations is Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI. The process of sending data from one system to another is known as electronic data interchange. In the context of libraries, this usually means that your library resource supplier sends data about your orders and invoices to your library system so that the information can be entered for you. Some suppliers can assist you with subscription renewals and check-in journals by using EDI processes.
Libraries can improve business cycle speeds, reduce human error and improve record accuracy, increase business efficiency, improve transaction security, and become more environmentally friendly by implementing EDI. Long-term benefits of EDI include streamlining operations and reducing manual labor.
As libraries strive to improve their services and provide better access to digital resources, the use of cloud-hosted library solutions is becoming more common. Cloud-hosted digital resources can be easily shared with users, providing increased access to online materials without the need to be on-site. Libraries can reduce hardware costs and provide better mobile experiences by utilizing cloud-hosted library solutions. Cloud hosting provides several benefits, including increased scalability and reliability, lower costs, and simpler data integration.
If you’re concerned about hosting your system in the cloud, read my full article busting cloud-based library myths here.
The future library has arrived, and it is powered by technology. Librarians are leveraging the latest innovations to improve the user experience and stay ahead of the curve, from artificial intelligence to cloud-hosted library solutions. Libraries can transform the traditional library model and unlock new potential by embracing digital resources, deploying library automation, and implementing electronic data interchange. Libraries are evolving and adapting to the changing landscape of information access and storage as a result of these Library Technology Trends and others. The possibilities are limitless – only our imagination limits us.