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Tech trends in the library services

Abid Hussain
TECHNOLOGY initiatives within the realm of libraries can be linked with the advent of the Internet. The last few years are considered to be the most influential years of tech trends. To construct a better world, Librarians are experimenting with the latest technology in order to fulfil the patron’s research needs. Many new technologies have been introduced across the globe, but the potential of certain fields, such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) are major trends in the field of library sciences MR, AR and VR are virtual field trips which could be introduced and used in the realm of libraries to help the patron to experience a world beyond the four walls of the library, for a solar system, tornado, walk around refugee camp, the 3D model for the human body, vacation spot, preview a college system or test driving a new car. These advanced technologies are being adopted in many developing countries which will be of utmost use to the user. .
Such trends make our lives safer, easier and more reliable. Similarly, Quantum supremacy and Quantum computing although in experimental stage, will able a user to perform calculations faster than that of digital computers. Embedded Digital Libraries is another milestone which helps the librarian to expand the mission of the library by providing digital content services in a wider range. For Virtual Learning Environments, the Learning Management System (LMS) is useful, which enables the users to utilize online delivery of course material with the help of Web Applications and software. Library are interlinked with the Alexa and Siri through which, voices technology from Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon allow the users to ask any questions in their natural language and command the computer to answer them. Using such technology in library services will allow the librarians to respond patrons.
Block-chain technology is another tool-set being adopted in library services. Introduced in 2008 uses decentralized database which provides access to the pseudonymous digital transaction via networking, in which data can be collected and stored for the user’s accessibility. Many libraries in developed and developing countries adopted the mobile applications technology which connects users to the library resources, thus allowing them to use it via cell or smartphones. 3D printing has also become a buzzword for the last few years. Many libraries have adopted these services because the charges of 3D Printing becomes affordable. As technologies are evolving and new tools have been discovered to provide optimal services in minimal time, in developed countries like USA, UK and Germany, the libraries are adopting new technologies for learning, research and information to give the patron the best possible services.
This practice will lead the librarians to learn new technologies in order to abreast their researchers with the latest tools. In this regard, the Library schools should also update their curricula by including these new courses. Students are relying less on library services because of their busy schedule. Researchers in the contemporary environment strongly rely on digital contents rather than books and similar material. For this, they want to access learning material online and within a quick time frame. Their changing expectations are highly affecting library professionals, but keeping in view their extensive demand the librarians are exploring new ways to cater to their needs. New tools and technologies have been introduced and people are expecting to use these technologies to get optimal benefits from these available resources.
In order to keep up with this evolving age of information technology, Libraries are adapting new trends based on digital applications and artificial intelligence. As new horizons of technology trends have highly affected different services. Similarly, Libraries are a trendsetter and implementing these new technologies for their patron to provide them with access to reach the library resources and services. The future libraries are seen to be most productive than those of the past. The information portals and robotic assistants will be used as guides in the near future. Hence, real innovations remain to be seen in the library services across the world.
— The writer is working as Library Officer in Institute of Strategic Studies, a think-think based in Islamabad.