So it’s a new year and, like everyone else, libraries are looking at the writing on the wall. We are two or three years in to a market of web-ready devices that is competitive, arguably standardized, and affordable. Every quarter institutions are reminded that the web is increasingly liberated from the home office. The web is not just in your phones and tablets, but it’s in your scale, your fridge, your car. In his blog over at FAIL!LAB, Ryan Hess sums-up a year’s-worth of trendwatching by telling us that “The Library Website Will Disappear”. Prescient gems:

So, the way we gather information and where we go to get it is already changing. And the interfaces are already being revolutionized and that pace will accelerate dramatically over the next 5 years as voice and sight overtake the the very impractical and immobile keyboard…even the touchscreen may be reduced to the point where iPads seem like a whimsical dead-end much like 8 track or Beta tapes.

Mobile devices have changed all that. Not only do they steer away from typical web interfaces in favor of “apps,” they actually de-link parts of the web from each other. The result, in most cases is a much more curated and manageable Internet.

And this is important for libraries, whose pages are almost hard-wired around interconnecting pages together in rather daunting tangles of hyperlinks, portals and gateways.

I like this one:

The users 5 years from now that enter our libraries’ virtual spaces, will expect a curated, largely automated experience. Already, we see this on the ground where incoming students are completely beside themselves in the antiquated library environment.

I made the point in one of my talks that the effort to rethink the library’s website to go mobile-first and adaptive (I like “adaptive” better than “responsive”) is not to just be able to be accessed from the palm of your patron’s hand – that’s just a technicality. Rather, the process of #FFLY design liberates the content librarians provide so that through API’s it can be syndicated and targeted to the first round of Google Glasses and wetware wireless integrated in the human brain.

But I don’t think the website will disappear. The architecture, the “framework” the word “website” connotes is disintegrating, so that the Library (and other institutions) don’t have websites, but their presence on the web just is – like the inherent vision of libraries being about books.


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Warming Up for NaNoWriMo with a Short Story → “Ceremony”

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Dust gathers in the light of the old storefront. Smoke curling from an unattended cigar lingers around the old Hanger there at the drafting table, ridden with sleep deprivation, breathing deeply the loess from the unbeaten rug, the smoke, the dust – he has spent long polluted hours in this way.

There is ceremony here.

It’s in the patina at the periphery of his drawing that has been so-drawn and redrawn to scale at six-by-four-inches-by-four: this, tuned to a delinquent arithmetic, was the math to drop a man through the margin of the paper and observe him jag. He sweat on the paper. Stray and over-indulgent mismarks punctuated the space between them—the hanger and his work—too immediate to rubber-out. This was ceremony. The sweat in the crude geometry deepened the color where blotted once ruler-straight lines like bloating, carcinogenic, sporadic lesions.

Proof of errors consigned the hanger’s mind to anthropomorphize and wander far away from his work. Underfoot the paneling groans. He sits back in his chair.