January 19, 2022

Library Futures and Trends: First Ever “Horizon Report For Libraries” Released by New Media Consortium

The first ever NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition was released today at the IFLA 80th General Conference and Assembly (WLIC) in Lyon, France by the New Media Consortium (NMC).

The report focuses on what’s ahead for academic and research libraries. Of course, this doesn’t mean that librarians who work in other types of libraries shouldn’t take a look at it.

The report is a collaboration between NMC and:

  • University of Applied Sciences (HTW), Chur
  • German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) Hannover
  • ETH-Bibliothek Zurich

Summary (via NMC)

The report describes findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.

Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving library leaders and staff a valuable guide for strategic technology planning.

Fast Trends  (1-2 Years)

  • Increasing Focus on Research Data Management for Publication
  • Prioritization of Mobile Content and Delivery

Mid-Range Trends (3-5 Years)

  • Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record
  • Increasing Accessibility of Research Content

Long-Range Trends (5 Years and Beyond)

  • Continual Progress in Technology, Standards Infrastructure
  • Rise of New Forms of Multidisciplinary Research

Key Challenges For Academic and Research Libraries Moving Forward

A number of challenges are acknowledged for presenting barriers to the mainstream use of technology in academic and research libraries.

Solvable Challenges (Both Understand and Know How to Solve)

  • Embedding Academic and Research Libraries in the Curriculum
  • Rethinking the Roles and Skills of Librarians

Difficult Challenges (Well Understood But With Solutions that are Elusive)

  • Capturing and Archiving the Digital Outputs of Research as Collection Material
  • Competition from Alternative Avenues of Discovery

Wicked Challenges (Complex to Define, Much Less Address)

  • Embracing the Need for Radical Change
  • Maintaining Ongoing Integration, Interoperability, and Collaborative Projects

Important Developments For Academic and Research Libraries Entering Mainstream Use in One Year or Less

  • Electronic Publishing
  • Mobile Apps

Emerging in Next 2-3 Years (2nd Horizon)

  • Bibliometrics
  • Citation Technologies
  • Open Content

Emerging in Next 4-5 Years (3rd Horizon)

  • The Internet of Things
  • Semantic Web and Linked Data

Direct to Full Text Report (56 pages; PDF)

Quick Comment From Gary Price

1. I am very happy to read that “Competition from Alternative Avenues of Discovery” is mentioned in the report. I hope that other types of libraries, especially public, recognize that competition from a variety of sources and tools is still competition both in terms of actual use and awareness/mindshare.

2. “Open Content” is listed in the “Emerging in Next 2-3 Years (2nd Horizon)” section. I would like to see this concept expanded to include making better/more use of content found on the open web. This includes developing  large specialty databases and searchable directories that the entire library community and others can benefit from.  Some of what I’m talking about was in the early days of the web and it’s time that some or all of these concepts and projects reemerged. I often refer to this as “open web” collection development.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.