It will come as no surprise that many of the top trends in academic libraries relate to digital technologies.
According to the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee’s “2012 Top Ten Trends in Academic Libraries,” Data Curation and Digital Preservation were two of the top ten trends in academic libraries in 2012. Some of the predictions are: cloud-based repositories will become more popular, and librarians and information professionals will play a critical role in designing and implementing strategies for data description, storage, management, and reuse. Digital preservation is becoming more important as research increasingly depends on digital technologies, but we still lack standardized policies.
The top ten trends listed in the article weave together to form a larger tapestry that describes the influence emerging technologies exert on all aspects of librarianship. Newer information technologies impact the way scholars and researchers communicate and publish their works, which contain more and more supplementary data, increasing the need for data curation repositories, roles, and planning. New publication models affect how scholars, researchers, and students access, process, and interpret information – which are determining factors in digital preservation planning and strategies. Digital preservation depends on communicating the value of digital resources, information, and knowledge – which librarians must make clear to stakeholders and investors.
The underlying factor, emerging technologies and the ways they change our research, information-seeking, information-sharing, and communication habits and practices, makes me wonder if this turmoil has a history. Technologies have always been evolving, so do the annual trends always depend heavily on this? Or, at other periods in our history, were social or economic change more powerful factors in emerging library trends?
ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee (2012). C&RL News. 2012 Top ten trends in academic libraries: A review of the trends and issues affecting academic libraries in higher education. http://crln.acrl.org/content/73/6/311.full