6 trends on the horizon for academic libraries

NMC’s Horizon Report details trends, challenges, and technologies that are impacting—and will impact—academic and research libraries.

horizon-libraries-trendsMachine learning, rethinking the library space, and managing knowledge obsolescence are just some of the changes heading toward academic and research libraries in the next five years. But what are the challenges libraries face now? And can specific technologies available today transform the library for tomorrow?

According to the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) 2015 Library Edition of their Horizon Report (an effort established in 2002 by the NMC that identifies and describes important developments in technology likely to have a large impact over the coming five years in education around the globe), there are 18 topics critical for academic and research library consideration as selected by the 2015 NMC Horizon Project Library Expert Panel—a panel composed of 53 education and technology experts from 15 countries on 5 continents.

Following a review of literature, the expert panel took into consideration four research questions to help list interesting technologies, challenges, and trends: 1) What trends do you expect to accelerate emerging technology uptake in academic and research libraries worldwide within the next five years? 2) What do you see as the significant challenges impeding emerging technology uptake that academic and research libraries worldwide will face over the next five years? 3) Which of the important developments in technology catalogues in the NMC Horizon Project Listing will be most important to academic and research libraries worldwide within the next five years? 4) What important developments in technology are missing from the list?

The 18 topics selected by the panel are related to the learning and research applications of technology, and all areas are “very likely to impact technology planning and decision-making over the next five years,” notes the report.

Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in technology are placed directly in the context of their likely impact on the core missions of academic and research libraries, and detailed in non-technical presentations. “Each has been tied to essential questions of relevance, policy, leadership, and practice,” explains the report.

(Next page: 6 trends, 6 challenges, and 6 developments)