Monday, June 19, 2006

Morgan's Technology Trends 2006

Eric Lease Morgan has presented his top library technology trends for ALA 2006. In looking the list over I found no real revelations. Then again, I find that Eric and I are generally not too far apart on our visions.

He does discuss the growing discontent over OPACs that has appeared on many blogs over the past month or so. Eric states: "library catalogs need to go beyond inventory control systems for librarians to information tools for students, instructors, and scholars." I would go one step further to say that the library catalog and web site should be combined in some fashion and presented using a meta-search interface similar to Gnosh.

Meta-search. Say, isn't that a topic Eric states has not lived up to expectations? In the context of search accross multiple legacy database/indexing systems, that is correct. However, many of the services that are "out there" make their API's available. This availability makes meta-searching across web-based services a relatively simple task. It also allows for the creation of hybrid applications, or mashups. Gnosh utilizes such APIs.

Eric closes by stating "I just can’t figure out why OCLC doesn’t try to provide open source software library application support for a fee." I wonder why OCLC does not push the concept of open source systems and champion the case for open standards for all library systems. For example, OCLC already markets/distributes the Illiad/Odyssey ILL management software. The Odyssey document delivery module is built on an open standard. So, why is OCLC not heavily promoting this as an alternative to existing proprietary solutions?

Imagine how easy meta-searching, document delivery, and library system design would be if all systems utilitzed open standards and made their APIs available.

6/20 Update: Yahoo just opened Messenger to developers and Google has made an AJAX Search API available. Sphere: Related Content

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