Libraries in the digital Age

Last Friday I spoke at the Festival Politics on the  Libraries in the digital Age. There was a very lively discussion and huge interest in the topic from the audience.New technology

The event was organised ty the Carnegie Trust who are taking a welcome lead in looking closely at national library strategy and the impact of  digital developments.

Max Whitby of Touch Press showed some fabulous work and talked about books as “defining inventions of the civilisation—and how today they are poised for a revolution.”

Touch Press’s  aim is to create a new kind of book that makes use of emerging technology to redefine the book, reinvent publishing, and forever transform the act of reading.

Martyn Wade of the National Library of Scotland talked about a National strategy for libraries and said  ‘We hold millions of historic documents dating back centuries and it has been frustrating that we have had no ability to save electronic information from just a few years ago. Knowledge about our past is vital in shaping our future and action is needed to stop important electronic information disappearing down this digital black hole.’

So thanks to the CarnegieTrust for raising issues here.


Open data – the opportunity

Open data is us! The government’s commitment to open data gives libraries and information services another opportuinty to shine in a new role as the “trusted” channel to a potentially huge information resource for the public.

This is only one of many ways libraries will be “rebranded” as an increasing proportion of our resources and services – and the information in the world that surrounds them – are digital.

What really scares me is the possibility that we miss this potentially major opportunity to capitalise on this as we did with the People’s Network.

With the opening of government agencies’ databanks and the emergence of applications to help present data in a friendly way to the public, libraries must be the vital link to this information for people who don’t have their own access.

The local library has long been an information centre for the community, but those communities are now partly constructed online and through social media, and we must be in the digital world where our customers are