Friday, 4 September 2015

Library technologies on the wish list

Ebook Friendly recently posted its "8 technologies we would love to see" and it's an interesting — and not unrealistic — selection, Although part of me worries about the way that technologies are applied, or not, within public libraries I could see some realisable practical benefits to most of these (3 and 8 if you're wondering about the exceptions).

Of course, funding and support (operational perhaps more than technical) would always be an issue but there are circumstances where the return on the investment could be more than just "nice to have." The ideas for creating digital interfaces for print books are particularly intriguing because I can see in them the basis for a new generation of tools for helping people with visual impairment: as well as the functions available in modern CCTV readers — changes in size, contrast, colour, etc. — it could bring in new options such as changing the font to one of the reader's choice, perhaps one with a heavier base leading. Many of the reader advisory functions could easily be made available in audio format. And could you imagine how useful and empowering it would be for a completely blind person to have a talking bookmark that would be able to walk them through the geography of the shelves directly to the talking book that they want (especially if it could find the book even if it had been mis-shelved!)

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