Everything is Beta

“Any change in technology that would have a significant effect on the methods available for acquisition, storage, delivery, or searching procedures could have important consequences for library service” (Buckland, 1992).  Online databases and record digitization impact acquisition, storage and searching by reducing the size of a physical information collection yet increasing the total amount of information available.   Databases and digital collections impact the delivery of services by enabling the user to access information globally from their personal technological device.   Harnessing technology to provide optimal, equitable information access to meet the user’s needs is one objective for Library 2.0.

Think Like a Startup  (Mathews, 2012) provides a good description of the library of the future, or Library 2.0.  Building off the slogan “Everything is Beta”, Startup methodology is utilized to promote innovation, evaluation, and transformative thinking to create a culture of change, with an important component being the incorporation of user centered perspective in the feedback loop.  Using this startup methodology enables the information professional to think outside the box, or the 4 walls of a library building.  I also like the analogy of the role of microscopes and telescopes as perspectives in stategic planning.  Both are necessary to formulate a holistic approach when implementing a plan of action.  

The Web is a game changer for access, collaboration, and communication of knowledge.  The internet continues to evolve from the text based data of the past, to the interactive, participatory experience of today.  Emerging technologies and the continuous, connected computing environment will impact both the individual and the global community profoundly in the future.  Emerging technologies have a significant impact on information science and its professionals are challenged to stay on trend and utilize these advancing technologies to provide the community the most innovative access to information.  It is important for the information professional to be open to and experiment with technological innovations and changes, always with a willingness to learn and expand their knowledge base.

Here is a brief but interesting Ted Talk about librarians of the future.  Lis Pardi, a usability researcher and user interface analyst, talks of libraries not as place but as experience.


Buckland, M., Gorman, M., & Gorman, M. (1992). Redesigning library services: a manifesto. Chicago, IL: American library association.

Mathews, B. (2012). Think like a startup: A white paper to inspire library entrepreneurialism. Retrieved from http://brianmathews.com/

3 responses to “Everything is Beta

  1. Mary

    Kelli, loved the video. So many good ideas offered and also provoked some questions for me:
    Love the cake pans! Man, I probably had ten silly cake pans for my kids over the years (holly hobby, Darth Vader, barbie, a race car, a motorcycle. . . ). Never used more than once.
    Loved her idea of having librarians come to you (whoever and wherever you are). Have them “hired” out to provide services off-site.
    Made me ask:
    Are libraries necessarily connected to information (are we libraries if we disconnect from info?)
    Are we redefining the definition of information (I was at the Getty Research Center and the Getty Villa this weekend. At one, I saw an exhibit on illuminated manuscripts–a subject taught in library school; at the other I saw an exhibit on mosaics–a subject not taught in library school. Why? How are they both not information?)?
    Thanks for sharing this resource!

  2. laurette

    I enjoyed the video and the sense of humor in it.

    Librarians are both the canaries in the coal mine and at the forefront of technology and its’ possibilities.

  3. @kelliariel You make an important point about the librarian’s willingness to learn I would argue that mastering “figuring things out” instead of waiting for a training session is a primary skill we will want in our libraries.

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