Thursday, December 8, 2011

Power to the Patron: Keynote by Bryan Alexander

Lisa Carlucci, Director of design think do, put together this year's Library Journal Virtual Tech Summit "Power to the Patron". The event included a keynote, three panels, and a tweet-up #ljtechsmt. I was the twitter moderator for the keynote, first panel, and assisted with the tweet-up. This entry is focused on the keynote.

The keynote was presented by Bryan Alexander, senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, which provides outreach, communities of practice, research. Here are some highlights from Alexander's keynote based on my tweets.
Emerging technologies: thinking about multiple layers that overlay each other, as well as what they expose and reveal. What strata haven't been revealed?

Extrapolation: use it to assess larger fields, rising fields and declining industries.

Environmental scanning: multiple sources, overtime, pattern glimpses. OCLC does a good job of this. Environmental scans are helpful for seeing trends, but be careful to to see things that do not exist. Alexander talked about one of his favorite environmental scans from Kevin Kelly: screening, interacting, sharing, flowing, accessing, generating.

Premise of social media is that we make stuff, and that making stuff keeps going.

Construction of scenarios: creating small narratives about the future. These are not predictive, but allow you to explore ideas.

Futures market: pretend market (a game) in which players buy and sell shares in a future event. These are often applied for example to the stock market, sports (my love of fantasy football!), predicting who will win the U.S. presidency. Alexander ran futures market on how many institutions would participate in Flickr's Creative Commons project by 3/26/09. Whenever you try to predict the future, there are wild cards aka Black Swans.

The Horizon Report: used Delphi process, asked five questions. Time to adoption horizon: one year or less.

Technologies to watch for: ebooks, gaming based, gesture-based computing. We don't talk about social media, it's already taken over. Social media example: blogs being used in education (courses, scholarship), podcasts still huge, wikis for coursework. Social media tools are being used in a variety of mainstream ways. According to Alexander, "It's simply gone wild in education."

Private closed-door spaces are now accessible via social media.

Media permeable classrooms changes the way we teach.

Ebooks: Project Gutenberg goes back to the '70's. Format variation and diversity one of the problems. However, the presence is enormous. We might see new ways of reading and sharing as a result of ebook growing pains.

The ecology of devices: multiple devices competing and reinforcing each other. What do we already use? Laptops, mp3, clickers, cameras, netbooks. Devices are offering us with ways to interact with content, such as smart pens, tablets, etc.

Augmented reality (AR): instead of creating a virtual world, push the virtual into the actual world. Example: Beatles "Abbey Road" experience with smartphone. Role of the gaming world in AR. Alexander discussed games and gaming, mentioning Angry Birds, Farmville, and others. Gaming in libraries.

Gamified reality: games seeping out into everyday life, they are connecting more directly in literal practical conceptual levels. Airlines create gamification experience with levels in rewards programs think of it as a leader board. Gartner Associates felt mouse was on it's way out with touch screen, hand-held, or hands-free (video capture) operation/interaction are coming in.

1. Storytelling. 2. Critical literacy. 3. Going around the web. Storytelling in social media. Digital storytelling allows you to remix content. Storytelling example uses 5 Flickr images (examples from groups here). Only text is the title. The pictures tell the story. Alexander mentions We are the 99% tumblr as an example of digital storytelling.

Information literacy is needed more than ever. Alexander cited Ann Blair's Too much to know. The problem isn't abundance, we haven't developed good lenses. - Clay Shirky. Alexander feels librarians are heroes in this (information literacy).

Alexander read an except from Long Live the Web and encouraged attendees to read the entire piece.
From the Q & A:
Alexander noted librarians have wonderful voices to advocate for standards. He is a self-confessed "librarian fanboy".

What should librarians be aware of with regards to privacy in libraries? Users are very happy to share their private lives, sometimes we even pay for the privilege. Library world has critical role in advocating for patron's right to read and consume media on their own.

There is a huge recognition that we need more information literacy. Libraries may need to to make more opportunistic alliances.

Reframing and rethinking = what libraries can do to help with the importance and existence of digital storytelling.

People's love of diversions = different devices. This goes back to the discussion of the ecology of devices. More is better. Libraries when planning for technology should keep in mind that diversion devices could be made available.

A question was asked about archiving the digital world. Alexander noted the Library of Congress tweet archive and internet archive are good, but how do we capture someone's Farmville progress? Emulation can be another good way to archive. Actual physical archives still have a role to play in this process.

Gaming in libraries: thematic, casual games (think tetris, mindsweeper). Alexander suggested Jay is Games for additional ideas.
 You can follow Alexander on twitter: @bryanalexander