Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know - 2

Monday, 11/2/2015
  • 2:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 1:00 PM (Central)
  • 12:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 11:00 AM (Pacific)
Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know book cover
We’re all awash in technological innovation. It can be a challenge to know what new tools are likely to have staying power ­­ and what that might mean for libraries. The 2014 LITA Guide, Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know, highlights a selected set of technologies that are just starting to emerge and describes how libraries might adapt them in the next few years. In this webinar, join the authors of three chapters as they talk about their technologies and what they mean for libraries.

Impetus to Innovate: Convergence and Library Trends

Presenter: A.J. Million
The future is impossible to predict, and libraries often struggle to decide what format of material to collect. This presentation does not try and predict the future, but it does provide a framework to understand trends that relate to digital media. Using concepts from media theory, we argue that library professionals ought to build collections with an eye toward digital convergence. Finally, we conclude that library collections should reflect the format­agnostic reality of convergence culture, focusing instead on content that is relevant and of high quality. Above all, libraries and librarians should position themselves to not only be a resource that patrons use to access content but that they should also help patrons create unique content.

The Future of Cloud-Based Library Systems

Presenters: Elliot Polak & Steven Bowers
Since the mid 2000s the term “cloud” has been used to describe a wide range of services: from hosting providers who allow organizations to offload information technology (IT) infrastructure, to storage providers encouraging consumers to preserve data virtually.  The “cloud” has come to mean a shared hardware environment with an optional software component.  In libraries, cloud computing technology can reduce the costs and human capital associated with maintaining a 24/7 Integrated Library System while facilitating an up­time that is costly to attain in­ house.  Additionally, Cloud­Based Library Services Platforms can leverage a shared system environment, allowing libraries to share metadata records and other system resources while maintaining independent local information will allow for reducing redundant workflows and yielding efficiencies for cataloging/metadata and acquisitions departments.

Library Discovery: From Ponds to Streams

Presenter: Ken Varnum
Resource discovery in libraries has undergone a remarkable evolution over the past five years. Libraries, and libraries’ perceptions of the patrons’ needs, have led to the creation and acquisition of “web­scale” discovery services. These new services seek to amalgamate all the online content a library might provide into one bucket. Rather than exploring focused ponds of specialized databases, researchers now swim in oceans of information. What is needed is neither ponds (too small in our interdisciplinary world) or oceans (too broad and deep for most needs), but streams ­­ dynamic, context­aware subsets of the whole, tailored to the researcher’s short­ or long­term interests.


"The chapters are well written and give enough information to help librarians brainstorm what could be the next big thing for their libraries … Another important aspect of this book is that it briefly discusses theories and concepts such as technological convergence and augmented reality that influence the adoption of a particular emerging technology. These concepts help stimulate strategic thinking on which technology is suitable for a particular library considering the user needs and availability of technical skills among the librarians."




”Contains excellent advice about defining the library’s context, goals, needs, and abilities as a means of discerning which technologies to adopt … <This book> introduces a panoply of emergent technologies in libraries by providing a fascinating snapshot of where we are now and of where we might be in three to five years."
— Technical Services Quarterly

Who Should Attend

”Librarians looking to better understand current trends and future directions will find this an excellent starting point."
— Reference Reviews


Steven Bowers is the director of the Detroit Area Library Network (DALNET), at Wayne State University.  He also co-teaches a course on Integrated Library Systems for the Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science, with his colleague Elliot Polak, with whom he co-authored “The Future of Cloud-Based Library Systems” in the LITA guide “The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know.”   He is active in ALA and LLAMA, working on committees, including various terms as committee chair, and currently serving as ALA Councilor.  Bowers was featured in the 2008 edition of the Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers and was honored with the Michigan Library Association Award of Excellence in 2011.  He enjoys presenting annually at state and national conferences.
A.J. Million is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies (SISLT) at the University of Missouri, where he teaches digital media and Web development to librarians and educators. A.J.’s interests relate to the creation and administration of public information resources. He has written journal articles that appeared in Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, the Journal of Library Administration, and OCLC Systems and Services. His dissertation examines website infrastructure in state government agencies. He also earned an M.A. in Library and Information Science from the University of Missouri and a B.A. in History from Drury University. He can be reached on Twitter at @ajmillion.
Elliot Polak Wayne State University in June of 2012 and is currently the Assistant Library Director for Discovery and Innovation responsible for providing leadership in the development of leading edge technologies aimed at enhancing the discovery and usability of library resources. Prior to joining Wayne State Elliot spent three years at Norwich University serving as the Head of Library Technology responsible for evaluating, maintaining, and implementing systems at Kreitzberg Library. In 2009 Elliot graduated from University of Wisconsin Madison with an MA in Library and Information Studies, and holds a BS in Information systems from California State University Northridge earned in 2007.
Ken Varnum is the Web Systems Manager at the University of Michigan Library, where he manages the library web site and development of new features and functionality. Ken's research and professional interests include discovery systems, content management, and user-generated content. He wrote "Drupal in Libraries" (2012) and edited "The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know" (2014) and "The Network Reshapes the Library: Lorcan Dempsey on Libraries, Services and Networks" (2014). His next book, "Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to a Library’s Licensed and Digitized Content" is to be published in 2016. He blogs at and can be found on Twitter at @varnum.

Steven BowersA.J. MillionElliot PolakKen Varnum



  • LITA Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

Adobe Connect login info will be sent to registrants the just prior to the start date.

How to Register

Register Online  page arranged by session date (login required)


Mail or fax form to ALA Registration

OR call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5

OR email

Tech Requirements

Live, synchronous lectures will require attendee participation via internet audio. Attendees will need a wired, high-speed internet connection, and a headset or speakers.  It is recommended that attendees use headsets connected to their computers (VOIP) during an Adobe Connect session. All attendees are muted and should use the built in chat function to communicate with presenters.  The use of computer speakers with a mic is not recommended, as it may cause echo. The recommended browser is Mozilla Foxfire although other browsers should work adequately for attending.


For questions about registration, contact ALA Registration:  call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 or email

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty,