Top Technology Trends, 2004 ALA Midwinter Meeting

Technology and library users, an ongoing discussion

Technology experts who are members of the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association, met for a managed discussion in San Diego on January 11th, 2004 to discuss what they feel are the top technology issues and trends in today's libraries.

Experts in attendance included : Joan Frye Williams, Clifford Lynch, Walt Crawford, Roy Tennant, Thomas Dowling, Tom Wilson, and Marshall Breeding.


XML's Tower Of Babel

an article from Internetweek that discusses interoperability of XML, whether or not an industry standard should be a priority, and the proliferation of XML dialects.

The Social Life of XML

by John Udell, focuses on XML documents as shared constructs, the convergence of databases and documents, how some believe there should be a universal business language xml schema and others believe that the schemas need to emerge from specific practices.

How Does XML Help Libraries?

in this introduction, Kyle Banerjee, talks about how XML should be seen as a grammar rather than a language and ways to put XML into action.

Extensible Markup Language

from Cover Pages by OASIS lists numerous xml applications, including some that include semantic schemas.

The Ying/Yang Web: XML Syntax and RDF Semantics

argues that for the Semantic Web to reach its full potential, "the syntax and the semantics of information needs to work together."


RFID: Emerging Technology
Part 1,10801,84002,00.html
Part 2,10801,84004,00.html
Part 3,10801,84003,00.html
Part 4,10801,84005,00.html

Carol Sliwa, Senior Editor, Computerworld, reviews an "emerging technology," RFID, in an in-depth, four-part article, dated August 18, 2003. Part 1 includes a Glossary and looks at the use of RFID by retailers, primarily Wal-Mart, and their suppliers today. Part 2 looks at the costs of using RFID today and in the future concluding that the per tag cost must drop to a penny or less. Part 3 reveals that the cost of the readers has not yet come down and their reliability is questionable - factors that will hinder the immediate wide-spread growth in the use of the technology. Part 4 looks at future advanced uses of RFID.

Tagging Books to Prevent Theft,1282,52493,00.html

Wired reporter, Kendra Mayfield, discusses how the use of RFID could assist libraries in many ways

RFID in Libraries - Introduction to the Issues

In August 2003, Mats G. Lindquist presented a paper at the 69th IFLA General Conference on RFID in libraries. He looks back at the history of bar codes and electromagnetic security systems and then, examines the potential and related issues using of RFID.

Choosing Your RFID Library Solution

VTLS, a leading vendor of RFID solutions for libraries, offers their examination of critical issues to be considered when a library purchases an RFID System.

Personal Privacy and Use of RFID Technology in Libraries

In this white paper, Vinod Chachra, CEO VTLS Inc. and Daniel McPherson, FASTRAC Project Manager, provide a brief description of RFID technology and related privacy issues.

RFID, Libraries and Patron Privacy

3M, another leading vendor of RFID solutions for libraries, discusses technical factors that work against collecting information about a patron and his/her reading habits.

Plan for Library Book Tagging Generates Privacy Concerns

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression and privacy online. The EFF warned the San Francisco Public Library in a letter of their privacy concerns with their planned use of RFID. The EFF site contains additional information about the use of RFID - click on "RFID" in the right-hand panel of the screen.

Privacy issues raised as San Francisco plans chips' use

MSNBC, in Science and Technology, report on the EFF concerns. Note that the article tells us that the public libraries in the cities of Santa Clara and Seattle will soon be implementing RFID.

RFID Poses No Problem for Patron Privacy

In December 2004, David Dorman, American Libraries columnist, expresses his skepticism about the concern about the use of RFID in libraries.

Going Global

Susan Kent, a member of the Bertelsmann Foundation's International Network of Public Libraries reports in a Library Journal article in October 2002, on technology trends she found visiting the Singapore National Library. One of them was the use of RFID for both materials and patro


Background and Traditional/Historical Copyright Documents

Title 17 of US copyright code

A chart providing a summary of when items pass into the public domain is available at

Fair Use

The application of the four factors to the academic world is covered expertly at the Copyright Management Center,

Teach Act

An in-depth discussion of the TEACH Act, as well as the duties of instructors, is available at Distance Education and the TEACH Act.

DMCA: Digital Millennium Copyright Act

DMCA: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

EFF "Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)" Archive

The Future Of Copyright/Intellectual Property

Copyright in the Library - The Digital Library

The Digital Future Coalition

A nonprofit working on the issues of copyright in the digital age.

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

Has a copyright information page includes text of pertinent laws and pending legislation.

"LC21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress"

Parties Interested In The Future Of Copyright Discussions

IP @ National Academies
The National Academy Press is the publishing arm of the National Academies.
"The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age"

A Question of Balance: Private Rights and the Public Interest in Scientific and Technical Databases

Association of American Publishers (AAP)
Association of American Publishers - on Copyright
Association of American Publishers Copyright Committees
Association of American Publishers Open eBook Publishing Standards Initiative

ALA Washington Office - Copyright Issues

American Library Association's Office of Government Relations
American Library Association's Office of Government Relations

Electronic Freedom Frontier

EFFector Online Newsletter -- July 22, 2001

American Association of Law Libraries - Washington Affairs Online

Recording Industry Association of America

RIAA's view of Fair Use

MPAA's legislative work

Other Intellectual Property Issues

Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA)
American Association of Law Libraries - UCITA
UCITA Online

Consumer Project on Technology

Bad Software: A Consumer Protection Guide


see also [ Midwinter 2002] | [ Annual 2002]

Library Journal libraryjournal

An overview article from a recent issue of Library Journal. Its citations and links also offer an excellent survey of current products, research, and initiatives.


NISO's current MetaSearch Initiative.


The Expert User Is Dead: Leo Robert Klein. Library Journal. October 15, 2003.

Library websites should be designed for all users as the "expert user" is dead. This can, and certainly should, be extended to OPAC design.

Krug, Steve. "Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability". Indianapolis: New Riders Publishing, 2000. ISBN: 0789723107

This book is a humorous, common-sense look at web usability problems and what can be done to fix them. In a nutshelll, Krug maintains that users don't want to think about using a site, they want one that's completely self-evident in its usage. When users visit websites: they don't read pages, they scan; they don't make optimal choices, they satisfice; and they don't figure out how things work, they muddle through. Does this sound like any of your users?

Cothey, Vivian. "A longitudinal study of World Wide Web users' information-searching behavior". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Jan 2004. Vol. 53, Iss. 2 , pp. 67-78.

From the abstract: "A study of the real world Web information searching behavior of 206 college students over a 10-month period showed that, contrary to expectations, the users adopted a more passive or browsing approach to Web information searching and became more eclectic in their selection of Web hosts as they gained experience. The findings have implications for the design of future Web information retrieval tools."

It's interesting to see that experienced users _don't_ typically search for information or use more complex (Boolean) search strategies as we would expect them to. If this is indeed the case, what do we do about OPAC design, which requires a search just to get started?

Slone, Debra J. "Encounters with the OPAC: On-line searching in public libraries". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Jun 2000. Vol. 51, Iss. 8; p. 757-773.

From the abstract: "The results found search behaviors, confidence, and other feelings varied, based on three types of searches: unknown-item searches, area asearches, and known-item searches"

See also : Library Catalogs (Midwinter 2001) and User-Centered Design (Here and Annual 2002)


ARL SPEC Kit 218 : Information Technology Policies

Reports the results of an ARL survey on library technology policies. The objectives of this survey were: to gather information on the development of institutional information technology policies and guidelines for responsible computing and use of electronic information; to identify the scope of such policies and guidelines; and to determine the role of the library in the development and/or use of the policies and guidelines.

Information Techology Policies and Guidelines at the University of Michigan

Good examples of policies covering hot topics like identity theft, acceptable use of information technology resources, etc.

itmWeb : IT Resources Link Collection Policies+and+Procedures

Bibliography of websites that produce tools and templates for designing information technology policies. Includes free/open-source and pay sites.

Information Technology Policies anbd Puiblications (Canada)

Interesting collection of policies on information technology development for the Canadian government. "The objective of government information technology management is to ensure that information technology is used as a strategic tool to support government priorities and program delivery, to increase productivity, and to enhance service to the public."


LITA Human/Machine Interface Interest Group

Website of LITA's Human/Machine Interface Interest Group. Includes a resource list on human/computer interaction.

LUII: Library User Interface Issues

A website forum designed to discuss usability issues involving library online subscription resources. Included is a "LUII: Usability Links" section, with dozens of additional resources.

HCI Index: Publications and Other Information

Resource list containing links to various reports, columns, and other websites dealing with human computer interaction.

Design Principles and Methodology

From Microsoft, some concepts of user centered interface design.

Windows XP Visual Guidelines

From Microsoft, this includes information on interface design for applications within the Microsoft Windows XP environment.

Usability Professionals' Association

The homepage for the Usability Professionals' Association, which "supports those who promote and advance the development of usable products," including software.

Research-Based Web Design and Usability Guidelines

Developed by the National Cancer Institute, this site includes a 128 page download on website creation and maintenance, focusing on good interface design practices.

Miscellaneous Articles
A multitude of articles and presentations exist on the web dealing with interface design considerations. Following is a sampling:

Extending Prototyping

An article discussing prototyping, one method frequently used in the interface design process.

User Interface Design

A presentation discussing prototyping and subsequent later design phases as it relates to interface design. It includes some usability guidelines from Jakob Neilsen and Ben Shneiderman.

Mobile Access to Information: Wearable and Context Aware Computers

Article discussing context aware computing as it relates to mobile devices, which use far smaller GUI displays than traditional personal computers.

Exploring Handheld Device Usage in Context

A thesis discussing the importance of context awareness as it relates to handheld computing devices. Included is a brief overview of handheld computing devices, usability issues with such devices, and various case study examples.

Improving Electronic Guidebook Interfaces Using a Task-Oriented Design Approach UIR-2000-08-Aoki-DIS2000-GuidebookTaskAnalysis.pdf

This article discusses the balancing of user-driven information selection and automatic information selection, as it relates to electronic guidebook design.



Print Sources

Cameron, Sturdevant. "A Safer Wireless World," Eweek, Sept. 15, 2003 v. 20 Issue 37, pp 72.

Discusses the new crop of products and their promises for stronger wireless network security. Most of the products do more than the minimal, which is to encrypt and to prevent ease dropping. Some of the products include AirXone by VigilantMinds, an intrusion detection and prevention product that provides special protection for wireless networks. Other security products include Trapeze Networks WLAN Mobility System a monitoring tool that periodically put access points into listen only mode to weed out rogue access points. A similar product include Aruba 5000 switch and Aruba 52 Access Points.

Farrow, Rick. "Wireless Security: Send in the Clowns?" Network Defense Magazine, Sept. 2003 pp.54-55.

Discusses problems surrounding wireless security and the major players. Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and its shortcomings are discussed and efforts to correct it. WEP was a part of the initial IEEE 802.11 standard for wireless security and current standard for wireless protection. Author asserts that although WEP had shortcomings it was still better than nothing. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) was designed to correct WEP's shortcomings.

Reardon, Marguerite. "Wireless Content Gets New Security Spec," Cnet, Feb. 2, 2004 pp. 1-4.

New efforts to protect against piracy of copyrighted information over networks and products that help to protect these materials are discussed. A new group Content Management License Administrator (CMLA) will develop framework for licensing. Digital Rights Management 2.0 Enabler Release is one such product.

Russell, Carrie. "Fair Use Under Fire." Library Journal. Aug. 2003 pp. 32-34.

Discusses the new challenges presented by Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies to fair use and copyright. Also tells about efforts by ALA and other organizations to balance these issues for users.

Salkever, Alex. " Wi-Fi Starts Leaping Security Barriers by Alex Salkever, Business Week Online, Nov. 11, 2003.

Article discusses current trends in wireless networks. Top priority is wireless security. Many fears still abound about wireless security and ways to secure a Wi-Fi network. Failed efforts with standards such as WEP have left many in doubt. In addition, there are many concerns about how to lock down laptops and mobile devices that come with Wi-Fi cards outside the office.

Vance Aaron. "WLAN: Trends and Analysis," Business Communications Review, June 2003, pp. 42-47.

WLAN 802.11 growth over the last two years grew more than 200 percent from 2000 to 2002. Predicts its continued growth at 23 percent over the next five years. Some trends include expanding of small office/home office (SOHO) and home market. A wireless home network can now cost as low as $150 and the technology is easier to implement today. Security use to be a big issue for Wi-Fi but recent developments in standards such as 802.11; Wi-FI Protected Access (WPA); and WLAN architectures are addressing many of the security concerns. 802.11 g standards will extend data rates for 2.4 GHz systems to 54 MBPs. Companies are considering converging their separate voice and data networks into one common IP network and adding Wi-Fi for a new dimension to mobility.


Wireless Librarian

Latest news and developments in wireless technology for libraries. Site documents libraries experiences with WLAN and has plans to include other wireless technologies.

Wireless Research

All the latest research on wireless technologies. Includes links to original pages and presentations on research in this area as well as current trends, analysis and technologies.

Digital Rights Management

Coyle, Karen The Technology of Rights - Digital Rights Management

A detailed overview of the topic, including examples from popular software like Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft reader. Covers technology and policy issues.

Digital Rights Management - Content's Secure Wrapper

Basic magazine-style overview of the issues involved, from the online zine Information Security.

Iannela, Renato. "Digital Rights Management Architectures," DLIB June 2001.

Discusses the architecture of DRM systems, and provides a summary of the current state of DRM technologies and information architectures.

XRML (eXtensible Rights Markup Language)

XrML provides a universal method for securely specifying and managing rights and conditions associated with all kinds of resources including digital content as well as services. See also for the white paper "Integrating Content Management with Digital Rights Management" by by Bill Rosenblatt and Gail Dykstra.

ODRL (Open Digital Rights Language)

"The ODRL specification supports an extensible language and vocabulary (data dictionary) for the expression of terms and conditions over any content including permissions, constraints, obligations, conditions, and offers and agreements with rights holders."


Personal Information Management (PIM)

The classic problem of information retrieval, simply put, is to help people find the relatively small number of things they are looking for (books, articles, web pages, CDs, etc.) from a very large set of possibilities. This classic problem has been studied in many variations and has been addressed through a rich diversity of information retrieval tools and techniques.

Email Overload: Exploring Personal Information Management of Email

PIM and user-subjective approach

Bergman, O., et al. "The user-subjective approach to personal information management systems". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. May 2003. Vol. 54, Iss. 9, pp. 872-878.

PIM Software -- applications for helping you manage your stuff

Chandler is intended to be an open source personal information manager for email, calendars, contacts, tasks, and general information management, as well as a platform for developing information management applications. It is currently under development and will run on Windows, Mac, and Linux-based PC's.

A follow-on problem also exists which has received relatively less study: Once found, how are things organized for re-access and re-use later on? What can be done to avoid the need to repeat the process by which the information was found in the first place? (If, indeed, it is possible to repeat this process.) An NSF-funded project at the University of Washington's Information School refers to this as the problem of Keeping Found Things Found or KFTF.