What Will Happen In Libraries in 2007?


Hindsight is 20/20, but let's test the LISNews foresight... What's ahead for our profession in 07?
Mergers? More blogs? Library 3.0?
We'll look back at our predictions in a year, and see who had the best ideas.


I anticipate that Google will buy the New York Times and then preceed to make its entire archives available freely on the web so that it can have a competitive advantage to stay ahead in the ad revenues game. This will have a negative impact on libraries because it no longer means people need the library for access to the NYT archives.

NY Times archives (or, through a technical loophole, deep links to them at least) used to be free, but were almost entirely switched to paid links circa 2003. The Onion did this around the same time, however they re-opened their complete archives more recently, apparently after paid subscriptions failed to make more than the ads on the free pages.Google does like to have an inside track to indexing contents, but not making them available for free. For example, you can get text snippets of NPR transcripts from Google News, while the NPR site charges for them. And Google Scholar (whose results usually point to "buy this article" pages) and Google Book Search (crippled as it is for most copyrighted titles) are pretty much advertising fronts for the content owners.Fine by me, I'm all for eliminating indexing costs (or having open access itself for that matter). Maybe it's just the Googlezon meme, but I just don't see Google eyeing such an old-fashioned media corporation. With in-game ads, in-show/movie product placements, and networks are posting to YouTube, though, who knows?

By the end of 2007, there will be at least 3 free, ILS-independent, open-source OPACs available with feature sets that dwarf what's being offered by the major vendors. Several large libraries will choose to run a free OPAC alongside a commercial one or ditch their commercial one altogether. Somebody will invent an annoying buzzword to describe this phenomenon.

Things will change, but only to become more so.

A librarian will be fired or arrested for an illicit sexual relationship. A library staff member will get busted for selling marijuana. A Director will be forced to resign over "improper" behaviour.

Librarians will alternately complain about a lack of respect for the profession and say their jobs can be performed by trained monkeys.

Library staff in several libraries will express disgust and displeasure over library policy, library administration, and the library board.

The dead will rise and walk the earth as zombies hunting for fresh human flesh. Internet gun nerds will rejoice over the chance to put their theoretical Zombie Survival Plans into effect. I will regret maintaining such a small reserve of rifle and handgun ammunition.

I think this is going to be the trend, whether libraries like it or not. The public and users demand it: that's what only really matters.

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