Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 1, 2009 - 10:35am
Exciting news in the library world today--a small company called Spiral Rift has created what it calls an RRILS (Really, Really Integrated Library System) that has the power to beam search results directly into a user's brain. Through a blend of proprietary technologies (the details of which have not been fully disclosed), the new, currently unnamed program uses micro-sonic pulses to emit digital search results to a chip that can be easily implanted into the surface of a library patron's skull. The results are then translated into a unique programming language designed to mimic the frequency of neurological movement.
Naturally, this has caused quite a stir in the library community, and many library and consortium directors have already purchased and launched the ILS in their libraries. While most of these libraries were forced to suspend service in order to locate all of their patrons and bring them in for the implantation procedure, the consensus among staff is that the increase in productivity and service that will come with the new RRILS will more than make up for the lost time.
"This is going to allow us to expand our services in ways we'd never imagined," said Springfield, Arizona Public Library Director Jane Walsh as she positioned a implant gun securely above a patron's shaved head, "by sending search results directly to the brain, we will save our staff considerable time and energy and allow them to focus on other things."
After their implantation procedures, patrons seemed equally excited--many of them so excited that they were unable to speak in coherent sentences. Library patron Bill Sanchez, when asked if he was excited about this new technology, said that "Yes, I'm very...is it lunchtime...why am I here?" Another patron was so excited he did not speak at all, simply staring into the reference room and literally drooling at the prospect of simplifying his library experience.
Of course, like any new technology, this one has caused some serious concern with some leaders in the field.
Stephen Abram, in his recently expanded role as VP for the Past, Present, and Future at Sirius/Dynomite, cautioned that sending ILS search results to a library user's brain could have some serious consequences. For example, if you search for some bodily function during, say, a church service, it could be distracting to the library user, and, by extension, to others in the congregation.
One major stumbling block in developing the RRILS interface was how to deal with foreign students studying in the U.S. who download large search results to their noggins just before returning to their countries of origin. Talk about a reverse brain-drain! An anonymous ILS developer at Sirius/Dynomite noted that they had worked extensively with technicians from the Department of Homeland Security on this problem. One temporary workaround involves a new form of phrenological examination that will be performed on young people who fit a certain profile as they pass through airport security checkpoints.
One thing is for sure--if its only beginning of April and we're already getting news like this, it will be an exciting spring in library technology.