OCLC Environmental Scan Now Available

OCLC Environmental Scan Now Available.

The 2003 OCLC Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition

“From the document, 'The 2003 OCLC Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition report was produced for OCLC’s worldwide membership to examine the significant issues and trends impacting OCLC, libraries, museums, archives and other allied organizations, both now and in the future. The scan provides a high-level view of the information landscape, intended both to inform and stimulate discussion about future strategic directions.'

Intro and Flash Graphic of Several Stats Contained in the Report ||| Direct to Full Text” [Resourceshelf]

I saw a piece of this report last month and even had the chance to provide some feedback and comments that made it into the final version. I have not yet had time to read the whole thing, but what I did see was pretty solid and does provide a good overview of current and future issues for libraries. Naturally, I agree with a lot of what's in the report, although I did have an interesting dialogue with the author, which is where some of my quotes come from (mostly in the Future Framework section).

Some of the quotes that are not from me but could be because of their “shifted-ness” include:

  • Wi-Fi, short for wireless fidelity, is a technology that has captured the heart of the information consumer and is filling tables at coffee shops across the world…. Jupiter Research reports that 6 percent of U.S. consumers have used Wi-Fi services in a public place. Why not make the library the first public place for the next 50 percent?
  • The high school students interviewed for the scan told us that the technology tool they wanted most was a PDA device that 'contained all the information they needed to do their work.' Vendors are responding. Several vendors now offer PDAs under $100, making it possible for the information consumer to get a PDA for about the price of two video games. Personalization, alert technology and other PDA-friendly information services have brought a world of convenience to the business user. The information consumer is ready for libraries to bring 'all the information they need to do their work' to their PDAs.” [Security, authentication, and Digital Rights Management (DRM), p.5]
  • “What if libraries and OCLC and all the other players in the world of structured access to information erased the organizational charts, the artificial separations of content, the visible taxonomies, and the other edifices real or otherwise built to bring order and rationality to what we perceive as a chaotic universe? What if we built an infosphere rich in content and context that was easy to use, ubiquitous and integrated, designed to become woven into the fabric of people’s lives; people looking for answers, meaning and authoritative, trustable results? How do we take information, information sources and our expertise to the user, rather than making the user come to our spheres?” [Future Frameworks, p.5]

It will be interesting to gauge the reaction to this document and to see if OCLC can successfully use it as a springboard to implementing the frameworks discussed (or helping their members to implement those frameworks). I hope they do a follow-up in a year to evaluate its impact on the organization and/or libraries. Personally, an API into WorldCat that could be used as an ISBN lookup service would be pretty high on my list in terms of integration into the web in the user's infosphere (hint, hint).

OCLC is soliciting feedback about the report, so feel free to contribute your thoughts to them.  [The Shifted Librarian]

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