Top Technology Trends, 2005 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 discussion in Boston, MA on January 16th, 2005 to discuss what they feel are the top technology issues and trends in today's libraries.

Experts in attendance:

  • Karen G. Schneider
  • Andrew K. Pace
  • Joan Frye Williams
  • Clifford Lynch
  • Walt Crawford
  • Tom Wilson
  • Marshall Breeding

The Top Technology Trends

ISSUE 1: Storage

ISSUE 2: Blogs, Libraries and Citizen Journalists

ISSUE 3: E-Books

ISSUE 4: OPACs, FRBR, and interface design


ISSUE 6: Broadband and VoIP

ISSUE 7: Google Print, Scholar, and MetaSearching

ISSUE 8: Folksonomies

ISSUE 9: Digital Rights Management

TTT Midwinter 2005 Discussion Minutes


USB Flash Drive Alliance

Gives a good overview and FAQ on what USB flash drives are, and how they work. Has current news items on developments in flash drives.

"Data Storage Institute Unveils Innovative Wireless Personal Storage Device" 2/22/2005

Article on a new Wireless personal storage device, named "NUMIDA."

Farivar, Cyrus. "Library Shuffles it's Collection." Wired, 3/3/2005.,2125,66756,00.html?tw=rss.TOP

Article about the South Huntington Public Library on Long Island, New York, which circulates iPod shuffles (an mp3 player/personal storage device) loaded with audio books.

Tame the Web: Libraries Doing Cool things with iPods

Tame the Web blog entry on some cool things libraries are doing with iPods.

Huggins, James S. "How Much Data is That?"

Page that relates Megabytes of storage to real things - like novels, music collections, etc. Useful as a reference point for talking about amounts of storage.


Blog about the latest tech gadgets, with a lot of information on different personal storage devices. See the latest gadget here first!



Pack, Thomas. "Through the Blogosphere" Information Today, Nov. 2004, v. 21 no. 10

A useful bit of blogging history and a description of the contemporary proliferation and uses of blogs. Peppered with links to take you beyond the illustrative examples in this brief piece.

"The Blogosphere" (special issue) Communications of the ACM, Dec. 2004, v. 47 no. 12.

This issue of the Communications of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) has five articles which analyze important aspects of blogging today: how patterns in blogger interrelationships have emerged during their brief existence; what tends to be expressed and what bloggers get out of expressing it; how a knowledge managemement layer could be added to blogs by semantic metadata; how the nature of online communities has been changed by user-friendly blogging software; the potential negative effects of filtering programs which allow users to specify exactly which information gets through to them.

Blogs and journalism:

USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review


Oxfeld, Jesse. "Blogs Rolling in 2005" Editor & Publisher, Jan. 2005, v. 138, no. 1

As a means of publishing timely accounts of current events, blogs have certainly become a force to be reckoned with for professional journalists. Recently, eyewitness accounts and videos of the tsunami disaster appeared very quickly in blogs and other websites run by non-journalists, in some cases scooping established news organizations. We can turn to sources such as the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review to monitor the debate. Jesse Oxfeld's article in Editor & Publisher surveys newspeople around the country about their plans for integrating blogs to enhance news reporting, and related issues such as degrees of editorial oversight.

Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism

"Dan Gillmor, founder of Grassroots Media Inc., is working on a project to encourage and enable more citizen-based media. This weblog is devoted to the discussion of the issues facing grassroots journalism as it grows into an important force in society. Dan is author of We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People, a 2004 book that is widely credited as the first comprehensive look at way the collision of technology and journalism is transforming the media landscape."

Blogspace exploration:


A site that indexes and ranks blogs and the issues written about by bloggers.





There are many general blog directories on the web; these are two of the most helpful for those who are just heading out into blogspace. Blogarama offers a topic directory and links for blogstarters, as well as several arrangements of blogs ranked by popularity. Blogwise arranges by country and keyword and has a nifty list of blogs recently updated, which can change in a matter of seconds Click your refresh button frequently and be amazed.

Library blog directories:

Library Weblogs


Open Directory: Library and Information Science Weblogs


Blogs may be popularly seen as a type of web diary expressing a personal viewpoint, but these library blog directories show how the technology is being used for professional information dissemination. Library Weblogs sorts entries by country, and makes prominent those blogs featuring an RSS feed. RSS (no consensus on meaning, but many accept Really Simple Syndication) feeds can be harvested by an RSS reader on your computer, which can automatically gather and present you with updated information from sources which you specify. The Open Directory's longer listing features more personal blogs from librarians, as well as the professional newsletter variety.

Some notable blogging librarians:

Peter Scott's Library Blog


Free Range Librarian (Karen Schneider)


Library Stuff (Steven Cohen)


The number of blogging librarians is growing rapidly and they link to each other all over the place, as you'd expect compulsive information providers to do. These three are picked out because they've been doing what they do for awhile now, and each blog has a different emphasis. Peter Scott, the Internet Projects Manager at the University of Saskatchewan Library, comprehensively blogs conferences, new websites and current events around online information. Karen Schneider, Director of the Librarian's Index to the Internet (and a Top Tech Trends Committee expert) describes her own experiences with new tech (the latest at this writing was podcasting) in classic blogstyle: a first-person point of view with a distinctive voice. Steven Cohen, who has worked as a corporate librarian, posts lively commentary on current trends in an eye-popping website which provides ample opportunities for exploring the more commercial aspects of digitized information.

How-to for those who would blog


Blogger must be one of the main reasons that just about anyone can start a blog, featuring simple steps and an uncluttered format. Weblogs Compendium helps with more complex issues like RSS, and includes pointers for library-oriented resources. While blogwithoutalibrary's name might lead you to think otherwise, it is quite oriented toward library blogs, offering tech help and citations to current literature on the subject.

Weblogs Compendium





RSS (Really Simple Syndication, by one definition) allows for entries in blogs to be captured by News Readers or Aggregators (see below). By using an RSS Aggregator, users can read headlines from literally hundreds of different sites at once in the same place, without needing to visit each website independently.

Pilgrim, Mark. What is RSS? December 18th, 2002 from

Excellent overview of RSS, including a brief description and history, followed by examples of RSS code.


A popular online RSS aggregator. Users set up accounts and add RSS feeds from their favorite blogs/news websites. Because Bloglines is web-based, users can read their news from any computer.


A search engine that looks specifically at RSS feeds. Searches for topics can be saved themselves as RSS feeds in a reader like Bloglines, which means that users can get constant updates on any new news items that appear on the topic of their choice.


University of Virginia Free EBook Library

The Electronic Text Center's project to distribute free ebooks, following their twin mission of:
"# to create an on-line archive of standards-based texts and images in the humanities;
# to build and support user communities adept at the creation and use of online resources"

Libraries and Technology - Digital Libraries and EBooks

Links to articles, library projects, and other resources on ebooks.

Ebooks - WritersWrite

Combines overview articles with information on ebook readers and more.

Teacher Tap - Electronic Books and Online Reading

Information and resources on incorporating ebooks and online reading into K-12 classes.


Gonzalez, Linda. What is FRBR? Library Journal 4/15/2005.

A good introduction to the topic, that gives background material and lists some national projects doing work developing frbr based catalogs.


RLG's frbr interface to their catalogs. "It is designed specifically for undergraduates using the Web—and the libraries that support them. delivers information from RLG members about more than 130 million books for education and research; and it links students back to their campus libraries for the books they select."

Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records Final Report

A 1998 IFLA study on FRBR. "The study has two primary objectives. The first is to provide a clearly defined, structured framework for relating the data that are recorded in bibliographic records to the needs of the users of those records. The second objective is to recommend a basic level of functionality for records created by national bibliographic agencies."

IFLA FRBR Review Group

IFLA group that works to monitor and assist the development of FRBR.


Details on different OCLC projects involving FRBR, including examples such as Fiction Finder.


From Security Focus - Basic Security Mechanisms for Wireless Networks - This article gives an overview of wireless networks and security issues. It lists several measures users can implement in order to make their networks more secure.

From Wi-Fi Alliance - Wi-Fi Security - An index of articles on many different security concerns about wireless networks.

Force Field Wireless - an interesting company Web site that offers security advice for wireless networks. In addition they sell a wide range of wireless network security products including radio wave blocking paint.

From Eweek - 802.11i Strengthens Wi-Fi Security,1759,1744540,00.asp - an article that describes the 802.11i standard and its wireless networking security impact.

Wireless Libraries Blog - A new blog by Bill Drew that discusses developments in wireless technologies related to libraries.


Broadband Adoption in the United States: An Empirical Analysis


Pew Internet and American Life Project


Falling through the Net

Americans in the Information Age Falling Through the Net; this website contains fact sheets, reports, partnerships, and summits on the Digital Divide.

IT Facts Broadband Facts, includes brief articles (some mere paragraphs) with statistical information about broadband rollout

International Telecommunication Union

Telecom and broadband statistics by country, company, region, and gender.

U.S. Local Telephone Competition and Broadband Deployment

Local statistics and status reports.

CTIA - Wireless Telecommunications Industry

Includes research and policy reports.


Google Scholar

About Google Scholar
by Google Scholar

Big News: "Google Scholar" is Born
by Shirl Kennedy and Gary Price

Google Scholar OpenURLs - Firefox Extension
Peter Binkley

The following pages specifically discuss the issues of a single index approach (such as Goggle Scholar) compared to Metasearch's broadcast search of disparate indexes:

Metasearch, google and the rest
Lorcan Dempsey

Mad About Metasearching
RLG Interview With Laine Farley of the California Digital Library

Renewing the Information Infrastructure of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek
Theo van Veen
D-Lib Magazine 11, no. 3 (2005)

Google Print

Google Checks Out Library Books
(Google's press release)

Google Partners with Oxford, Harvard & Others to Digitize Libraries
By Gary Price

Google’s Library Project: Questions, Questions, Questions
by Barbara Quint

Publishers irritated by Google's digital library
By Declan Butler

Paranoid or Prescient? Daniel Brandt is concerned about Google Print.
By Jim Hedger


About Folksonomies (social tagging) :

Folksonomy from Wikipedia

Provides a definition of the term, attributes the term to Thomas Vander Wal, and contains external links to content about folksonomies.

Terdiman, Daniel. "Folksonomies Tap People Power." Wired, 2/1/2005.,1282,66456,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2

Nice overview of folksonomies, includes quotes from Thomas Vander Wal (see below).

Folksonomy Explanations

by Thomas Vander Wal

Social Consequences of Social Tagging

by Liz Lawley on Many2Many, a group weblog on social software.

Can Social Tagging Overcome Barriers to Content Classification?

Considers advantages and disadvantages of folksonomies and possibilities of "real world" use.

Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata

by UIUC Library School student Adam Mathes, a useful, detailed overview.

Sample Uses of Folksonomies or Tagging:

Social bookmarks manager.


Collaborative bookmarking system.


Photo sharing.


Online message board which uses tags to help organize subjects.


Digital Rights Management and Libraries. Provides a brief introduction to DRM, library and higher education concerns, and links to legislation, a glossary, and resources. Wikipedia entry on Digital Rights Management
Cybercast and link to PDF version of lecture on "The Technology of Copyright: Digital Rights Management" by Karen Coyle - The "Rights" in Digital Rights Management by Karen Coyle
Recent posts to his blog cover topics such as intellectual property and copyright. More about Lawrence Lessig: : Electronic Frontier Foundation - Digital Rights Management and Copy Protection Schemes
Various papers and statements published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Also includes a "related subjects" section that is fascinating reading for those interested in issues such as intellectual property, copy protection, and fair use among others. Electronic Privacy Information Center section on Digital Rights Management and Privacy
Covers major DRM developments, news, resources, DRM defeating technology, DRM developers, Microsoft Palladium. This site hasn't been updated since March 2004, but many useful resources are available on this page.

Some Key Players in DRM:

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC):
Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA):
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA):
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C):

Patents, especially buying and placing patent claims on fundamental concepts like file transfer and streaming media, were mentioned as well. Companies such as Acacia are getting patents for fundamental concepts like streaming media and file transfers. Acacia purchase creates Net patent powerhouse US Patent and Trademark Office White Paper on Patent Pooling
This white paper discusses the use of patent pools as one way to address the issue of access to vital patented biotechnology products and processes. Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard-Setting by Carl Shapiro