Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Predictions for 2006

I'm taking up Karen's request for Top Trends that will affect libraries.
Here's three ideas:

1. More discussion about The Long Tail will ensue

I'm cheating: I know there will be *some* further discussion of this idea in 2006 because Chris Anderson has expanded his influential essay in WIRED into a book due to be published in June. I know librarians will be talking about it as librarians have responded positively to the idea of the Long Tail because its a new way to explain the value of libraries. As libraries are storehouses of rarely used out-of-print material, we are the original long tail. But there are greater ramifications of this theory as Lorcan Dempsey suggests in his presentation at Access 2005. The Long Tail suggests that we have to distribute "deep" goods over a "wide" audience. Will this further drive consortial partnerships or collaboration with OCLC?

2. Google will lose a bit of its luster

I'm wagering that Google's honeymoon period is going to end soon. Granted, my thinking is coloured by my recent reading of The Search but recent developments hint that the general public is eventually going to realize that Google's is a search engine that is meant to drive the vehicle for commerce and that whole "Don't Be Evil" shtick was just engineer hubris. Libraries will look more favourably to Amazon because of its A9 service.

3. Someone is going to develop automatic tagging

Or structured blogging is going to emerge. Or GoogleBase will be re-designed so it will make more sense to its users. Or some other attempt to bring about the labeling necessary to bring rise to the Semantic Web is going to come about.

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