Monday, August 19, 2013

IFLA Trends website launched #iflatrends #wlic2013

The IFLA trends report was launched by the President of IFLA, Ingrid Parent, today at the IFLA conference in Singapore. It is now available at and the hashtag is #iflatrends
There is a “insights” report summarising the key points, “Riding the waves or caught in the tree: navigating the evolving information environment”, but at the launch it was described as the IFLA Trend Resource, as the aim is to create a dynamic resource which IFLA members can add to, and comment on. In presenting the report, it was stressed that the value would come through discussion, input and examples. They encouraged hosting events at regional meetings, adding it as an agenda item, blogging and tweeting about it. To contribute to the resource you have to register.
The report was developed through an initial literature review and input from “experts” (including technologists, lawyers, social scientists etc.)
The headline trends are
- New technologies will both expand and limit who has access to information (information literacy was mentioned here)
- Online education will transform and disrupt traditional learning
- Boundaries of data protection and privacy will be redifined
- Hyper-connected societies will listen to and empower new groups
- Our global information economy will be transformed by new technologies
As the presenters themselves said “so what” – these are not new trends. However the interest comes in the next step. They looked at the points of impact between trends, “collision points” for libraries. As one example they took Google Glass which “redefine the boundaries of privacy”. Since libraries position themselves as safe places, and someone with Google Glasses is effectively putting people under surveillance – what are the implications (I think back to my visit to Newcastle public library where I was told not to take any photographs, even). Another example is the intersection between online education x the boundaries of privacy (are we collecting too much information for students).
Interesting questions were raised as regards the impact of automatic translation on various important areas (e.g. local-language publishing, literacy criticism, reading of classics which jave been translated by a machine without understanding of the cultural context. “If filtering is becoming a standard government practice” what is the implication for libraries’ mission in preserving digital information and giving openb access to information.
I haven’t yet read through the report/resource, so that’s all for now, but I’m sure to be blogging more about it.

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