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Helping Create The Libraries Of The Future

Over the years libraries have found themselves at the crossroads of change in American society. Once used almost exclusively for the storage and loaning of physical books, they now find themselves in the position of offering free internet access and other services that would have been unthinkable a few generations ago. As time goes on and technology continues to change, undoubtedly the role of libraries as public spaces will continue; but what form will that function take?

One of the areas where a lot of progress has been made is the preservation of literature through digitization. For libraries with rare books and fragile pages, sometimes turning that information into data is the best way to ensure that future generations will have access to their collected learning. Google has been on the leading edge of this movement so far, working with several major systems to preserve their precious collections; but unfortunately even with their massive efforts only a small fraction of the vulnerable volumes around the world have been preserved in perpetuity. With the role of libraries shifting from merely books to multimedia information hubs, the rate of change within their walls is only bound to increase and more facilities are starting to consider this switch.

We’ve all heard the stereotypes of librarians being prim women of a certain age who wear buns and sensible shoes while quieting down patrons, but in an era where most of the budget goes to licensed content instead of actual books that may soon go away. According to the newest horizon report for libraries, another of the trends predicted will be that as books are digitized the freed up space will be used for on-site secure server storage. This may be a bit optimistic as systems are usually reluctant to give up their hard copy books, but overall the tendency towards cloud storage reflects national trends. In the future, instead of titles like librarian we may soon begin to see more jobs like archivist and information specialist that reflect the changing roles of the facility workers.

Through a combination of document scanning and cloud computing, libraries are beginning to innovate as facilities of the future. While they may primarily serve up books in the present, going forward we are certain to find them in a new niche of society that is just as crucial. Here at The Data Vault we’re pleased to assist in offering services that can help facilitate that transition, and would love to hear from you if that’s something you’re interested in!

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