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IL 2011 Day 3 Keynote

October 19, 2011

Happy Wednesday! Last day of Internet Librarian 2011. This morning’s keynote is by Roy Tennant, Stephen Abram, Elizabeth Lane Lawley, and James Werle. Their talk is Internet 2020: Trendwatch Smackdown. Let the discussion begin!

Roy Tennant is the MC for this keynote discussion. James is going to update us with the Internet2 project and then the smackdown will begin.

James Werle on Internet2 and changes in technology: How we consume and use information is quite different now than in the past and the changes have happened very, very quickly. In 1996, 20 million Americans were connected to the Internet and 28% of public libraries offered Internet access. People were online 30 minutes per month. [Crazy to think about, no?]

Future prediction by Cisco, that global internet traffic is expected to quadruple by the year 2015 because more devices connected, more people connected (40% of the world’s population), better connectivity at a lower price, and traffic will be dominated by video. This will be driven, ultimately, by bandwidth.

“Advanced applications require advanced connectivity.” The more interactive and advanced applications require more bandwidth with increase in media richness. Patrons will expect to use these applications at the library in the future. We need bandwidth.

Public libraries and the internet survey from 2011: majority of libraries said that bandwidth was inadequate and they couldn’t increase their bandwidth. This is a dangerous trend: libraries falling behind bandwidth curve. Therefore

Access is essential and it is dependent on bandwidth levels. We need the connectivity in order to help our patrons.

National fabric of NGO research and education networks that are connected via Internet2. Internet2 created in 1996. These networks were created to meet the bandwidth needs. Expand to connect to K12 schools and community colleges in addition to the original universities and research centers. For more information, check out Connections, Capacity, Community: Exploring the potential benefits of research and education networks for public libraries.

Smackdown Time!

Questions go to panelists and then answers/discussions, moderated by Tennant.

What keeps you awake at night? Most transformative trends?

Abram: Polarization of discussion. Seeing shallow polarizations of opinions in librarianship. Example: Apple fanboys defending censoring of books in the Apple Store. Can ban political apps. Why aren’t we saying this is wrong? WTF? Advertising is coming to reading and books. We need to be more aware and deeper thinkers. “It scares me that we aren’t saying this is dead wrong.” Our voices aren’t there. [Amen, brother.]

Lawley: Bandwidth is still an issue, but it is coming. Need to talk more about network neutrality. Will you have a piece of that network? Deep fears of cloud-based content because of Google Docs going down. More interested in what we layer on top of bandwidth. Doesn’t want us focused on intensive technology because it doesn’t have to be resource intensive to be an emotional connection experience.

Werle: Bandwidth is coming, but will it come to a library near you and can you afford it? These are real issues.

Abram: Net neutrality debate is not over yet.

Lawley: We need to be paying close attention to Web 2.0 discussions about what people are willing to pay for and why. Expectations that some things should be there and be there for free. what will people pay for? Cloud part isn’t the important part. The transparency of where you can get to your information is important. A good experience= what people are willing to pay for. Context often trumps content. Presentation matters. What is really valuable is the experience and how people feel. Does your service make people say that your service is really great or that they are really great? You want people to feel success and happy. Think of the users’ interactions at an in-depth level.

Abram: You need to understand that you are a product not a user. Freemium= you have a different value if you pay than if you use the free account. Google+ is using real identities to drive advertising and tie and identity to a card holder. We need to question these services and pay attention to privacy policies. If we are a product, what are we doing? What are the excesses in the information marketplace? What are we going to say to inform the discussion?

Werle: Speaking with a uniform voice: is that best found through ALA through our state libraries? What is the best mechanism? Can we even agree what should be collectively done as librarians?

Abrams: Not suggested a unified voice. We just need to make our voices known. We shouldn’t be drown out by advertising and corporate voices.

Single most disruptive technology trend?

Lawley: Doesn’t want to talk about what she wants to talk about this afternoon. Watching gamification (even though she dislikes the word) because the concepts are interesting and disruptive. [Watch for more on this on the summary of the closing keynote] Return to a love of tangible things. People are starting to care about the quality of paper and physical things. Looking at 3D printers. Seeing 3D printers in the dorm rooms. Students more excited about artifacts than viewing them on the screen.

Abram: App purchasing and subscription-based models for content at the individual level. Looking at frictionless adoption versus seamlessness. Frictionless technologies will change how users behave and get information.

Lawley: Interested in RFID more than QR Codes. Likes RFID because it feels “magical” and “invisible.” [I personally worry about RFID and privacy.] Interested in embedding RFID chips in things.

Abram: Need to look at behavioral consequences of technology. We are shifting the choice to be something that users don’t consciously make. Changing dynamics of the choice. Need to have transparency of how and who is making the choices of what information you get.

Is Internet2 all about public libraries in response to broadband?
Internet2 is owned by educational institutions. Not a commercial space. Some corporate sponsors, but it is for the research and education communities.

Lawley: Inserting virtual objects into still photographs. Researchers used Lawley’s creative commons licensed photograph of her dining room. Inserted dragon into photograph and made lighting on dragon believable. Disruptive for photographic evidence. [Just an updating of the discussions that have been going on since photography began]

Werle: Video conferencing. Price point still high. But the ability to bring people together even if they are not co-located.

Lawley: Likes Google Hangouts because it is cheap and it works. Fascinating. Things need to work in a way that is frictionless for the user. Need to worry about the interface for the user. You come to conferences for the experience. There is real value in being in the same room with other people. Technology doesn’t even come close to this physical experience. Doesn’t teach online because there is no substitute for being in the same room. We are a long way from duplicating or bettering the physical environment and experience.

Abram: Be more radical and spend more time understanding other points of view. Remember our values and figure out how to progress forward. Understand, but we don’t have to agree.

Lawley: Remember to be playful. Think about how to make technology blend into the background.

Takeaway
We need to have deep discussions about important issues such as privacy, advertising and net neutrality. Being in the room with a person is a valuable and technology doesn’t replicate the richness of this experience yet. Technology is wonderful, but needs to be seamless and frictionless.

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