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Information Organization Future for Libraries

Library Technology Reports 43:6

  • "As a long-time cataloger, I truly feel the pain that technical services personnel have known for a long time: the era of the library OPAC is over." — Brad Eden, from the "Introduction" of

Library Technology Reports 43:6

As library technologists and librarians are well aware, since the advent of the Internet, the relationship between the user and his/her library has changed.

In a world of quick-and-easy search engines and of online social networks—in which information gets shared at an astonishingly rapid rate—information retrieval and aggregation are no longer the purview of the library institution alone.

“[N]ow that I am a library administrator dealing with staffing and budget issues on a daily basis,” states Dr. Brad Eden, in the “Introduction” to the sixth issue of Library Technology Reports in 2007, “it has become quite clear that the way libraries do business just isn't working.”

Eden, who early in his library career worked as a cataloger, is now the Associate University Librarian for Technical Services and Scholarly Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Also in his “Introduction,” Eden chronicles, through his own career, how the library institution and its role have changed and continue to change in the Information Age. In addition, he asserts, “So, going beyond the arguments about whether the library catalog is important or of value (it is), and going beyond the arguments about whether structured metadata, in MARC or something else, is important and of value (it definitely is), the reality is that libraries have limited resources to compete and position ourselves in the new information universe. We have gone from a monopoly, which could impose whatever rules and software and search strategies that we wanted on our users, to a bit player in market overflowing with technological gadgets, tools, and algorithms that capture the attention of the public and leave libraries with but a slim slice of the information pie, all in the space of approximately 15 years.”

Thus, Eden tackles the important topic of “Information Organization Future for Libraries” in this final issue of Library Technology Reports in volume 43.

In this issue, Eden focuses “not only on current initiatives around ‘reinventing' the OPAC and all of its attendant possibilities (provided in the context of economic realities),” but, in the report, Eden also looks at “opportunities to get away from the OPAC and focus resources on new areas, such as 3D information visualization, mass digitization, Library 2.0, and metadata related to digital resources."

In this issue of Library Technology Reports, you'll find:

  • a chapter on essential resources: electronic mailing lists, blogs and wikis, and other tools;
  • a chapter on “Reinventing the OPAC,” an annotated listing of papers, articles, reports, lectures, presentations, Web sites, even a music video, providing a range of perspectives on the future of the library catalog; and
  • a chapter on Library 2.0 resources.

About the Author
Brad Eden is Associate University Librarian for Technical Services and Scholarly Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Previous positions include Head, Web and Digitization Services, for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries; Head, Bibliographic and Metadata Services, for the UNLV Libraries; as well as Coordinator of Technical Services for the North Harris Montgomery Community College District.

He is editor of OCLC Systems & Services: Digital Library Perspectives International and The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, is associate editor of Library Hi Tech and The Journal of Film Music, and is series editor of the Routledge Music Bibliographies.

He has master's and Ph.D. degrees in musicology, as well as an MS in library science. He publishes in the areas of metadata, librarianship, medieval music and liturgy, and J. R. R. Tolkien.

He recently edited Innovative Redesign and Reorganization of Library Technical Services: Paths for the Future and Case Studies (Libraries Unlimited, 2004) and is the author of five previous issues of Library Technology Reports, including “Metadata and Its Applications” (ALA TechSource, 2002), “3D Visualization Techniques” (ALA TechSource, 2005), “Innovative Digital Projects in the Humanities” (ALA TechSource, 2005), “Metadata and Its Applications: New Directions and Updates” (ALA TechSource, 2005), and “FRBR: Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records” (ALA TechSource, 2006).