|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Knowledge Culture Internet Electronics|
According to Esposo-Betan and Santos (2018), advances in technology have a far-reaching impact in nearly every economic sector. The library, which is a crucial tool in the education sector, provides the best example of an area that is increasingly experiencing the impact of technology. Findings from comparative studies of the effects of technology on libraries identified a plethora of trends that will continuously affect their operations in the future. Some of these critical trends include augmented reality (AR), advances in digitisation, and assistive technologies. The most important fact to underscore is that the invention and advancement of these three crucial technologies will not only impact the library and the entire education sector positively but also adversely (Oyelude, 2017). For instance, research indicates that effective utilisation of these trends in the library will lead to improved access to information, enhance user experience through the delivery of high-quality services, and increase customer satisfaction. However, reliance on these technological trends may change the market structure, which may, in turn, create losses for those who relied on physical texts, diminish user's ability to read and write, and promoting academic dishonesty (Cipresso, Giglioli, Raya, & Riva, 2018). This paper provides a comprehensive discussion on how technology affects libraries services and resources with a specific focus on AR, advances in digitisation, and assistive technologies.
Effects of Technology on Library Services and Resources
Technology has a far-reaching impact not only on library services but also resources. Research indicates that advances in technology, characterised by various trends, including AR, digitisation, and assistive technologies, have had a far-reaching impact on the operations of libraries in contemporary society (Esposo-Betan & Santos, 2018). Most of these trends contribute to efficiency in service delivery demonstrated through reduced time for accessing and sharing information, enhancing customers' experience, and helping libraries to generate more profits. Also, advances in technology through these three trends is crucial in assisting the libraries in creating and maintaining a positive reputation and brand image before its target customers, which, in turn, leads to operational sustainability (Oyelude, 2017). However, it is critical to understand each technology trend and its impact on the library, as discussed below.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Massis (2015) defined AR as a typical form of technology with the capacity to superimpose an image generated via a computer system on the user's view of the real world. This superimposing ability allows the AR technology to create a composite look for the target users. AR provides an interactive experience of a real-world environment which enhances objects residing in a real-world context by computer-generated perceptual information. This interaction takes place across various sensory modalities, including olfactory, visual, and auditory. An augogram refers to a computer-generated image used in the creation of augmented reality (Esposo-Betan & Santos, 2018). AR is a system that meets various fundamental attributes. For instance, AR combines both the real and the virtual world, provides real-time interaction between virtual and physical objects to create the real world, and allows accurate three-dimensional registration of both virtual and real objects. AR plays a vital role in the library field because it effectively integrates virtual objects that appear in three-dimension in a real environment and within real-time (Cipresso et al., 2018). Therefore, AR is unique and distinct from virtual reality because it can supplement reality. Virtual reality, on the other hand, works by completely replacing reality.
Impact of AR in the Library
The effective use of AR has a far-reaching impact in the library field (Massis, 2015). There are approximately four different types of AR applications with a distinct effect on contemporary libraries. The first category consists of applications that provide extra information on media for library users. For example, myLibrARy is an app developed by the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam in 2014 that serves as a user-oriented platform to offer multiple features for users (Oyelude, 2017). The app provides effective management of media through various attributes, including searching for information, storage, retrieval, and downloading upon need. Also, myLibrARy allows for easy navigation of users to find the way to the target media as well as providing accurate and reliable information on the library, such as its staff, opening hours, and their contacts. The second category consists of various applications that support librarians (Denning, 2015). For instance, ShelvAR is an AR-based application developed by the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio to help librarians in identifying various books located in the wrong place.
As a result, librarians can use a mobile device, such as a tablet or a smartphone, to identify the misplaced book (Leetaru, 2019). The third category of AR applications in the library consists of applications that offer more information regarding cultural assets associated with libraries. For instance, Ludwig II is a historical app developed by the Bavarian State Library Munich to represent all the location-based services of cultural assets, such as buildings and monuments associated to King Ludwig (Cipresso et al., 2018). The state library displays the multimedia content on top of a map view or combines it in the live camera video to identify the required media. This approach creates efficiency and improves user experience in accessing information associated with their target cultural features (Oyelude, 2017). Lastly, AR affects contemporary libraries through the creation of augmented books, which provide customers with unique user experience and improves efficiency in accessing information.
Advances in Digitisation
According to Shaikh (2015), digitisation refers to the process of changing information into a computer-readable format by organizing it into different bits. The outcome of digitisation entails the representation of data in various forms, including an object, sound, image, document, or a signal through the creation of a series of numbers describing a discrete set of samples or points (David, 2017). Information experts refer to this typical outcome as digital images in the case of an object and digital form in the context of a signal. However, digitised data appears in the form of binary numbers in contemporary society. These numbers play a crucial role in facilitating computer processing and other vital operations. Digitisation entails converting an analogue source material into a typical numerical format for productive use (Chaplin, 2014). Advances in digitisation, on the other hand, refers to various processes undertaken by libraries to improve their information assets and, in turn, deliver high-quality services to their target customers. Digitisation is of vital importance to data processing, storage, and transmission in the library field because it enables carrying and integration of information of all types with the same efficiency (Shaikh, 2015). Advances in digitalisation are crucial because they allow libraries to store information that is easy to share and access hence creating operational efficiency.
Impact of Advances in Digitisation on Libraries
There are various advances in the digitization of services and resources that have a far-reaching impact on libraries and their operations. Some of the fundamental advances witnessed in this sector include the use of technology to improve access, storage, and dissemination of information from one user to another (Nneji, 2018). Therefore, advances in digitisation have a wide range of benefits, not only to the users but also to the target libraries. First, advances in digitisation result in improved access to information stored in all types of resources, including magazines, books, and journals. Digitisation also enables the delivery of data stored in these materials in an electronic form, which reduces the time to spend while retrieving information through physical materials (Nnenna & Emenike, 2015). The information available in libraries through online platforms and catalogues allows people to access it through appropriate tools such as computers, laptops, and smartphones as opposed to relying on the analogue systems.
Secondly, advances in digitisation have both institutional and strategic benefits. According to Nneji (2018), providing access to digitization collections can assist in the publication of the materials to various departments and peers, in multiple institutions across the world to demonstrate the importance of the available selections. Also, digitising the valuable and priceless resources of institutions brings prestige to the organization by creating visibility to the content of the library and the work of scholars (David, 2017). Advances in digitisation can serve as an excellent opportunity for developing strategic liaisons with various institutions since a plethora of funding opportunities tend to be contingent on collaboration and partnerships between different organizations. Lastly, the digitisation of resources and services in a library has multiple benefits in terms of research and education. Research indicates that digitisation creates and increases accessibility to the research findings, reports, and other scholarly materials (Nnenna & Emenike, 2015). Digitisation also makes it easier and effective for researchers to not only find but also share the results of a given study via free and unlimited online availability of information.
Silton and Silton (2015) defined assistive technology (AT) as any form of a device, software, or equipment that can help people to work around their challenges and difficulties so that they can learn, communicate, and function effectively. Modern libraries have numerous forms of assistive technologies to help people in accessing and using information from various sources. Examples of these technologies include wheelchairs that help people with a physical impairment to move in the library, computer software with the capacity to read aloud texts at the benefit of visually impaired users, and keyboards to search for information (Chakraborti-Ghosh, 2017). These tools can not only help people in addressing their challenges but also make remarkable improvements on their strengths especially for kids who may struggle with learning and its critical processes, such as doing maths, reading, listening, and writing. AT can, therefore, help such students to not only thrive in school by ensuring effective use of libraries but also achieve their long-term career goals and objectives. Improved learning is crucial in helping kids as typical library users to grow their confidence, which, in turn, culminates in autonomy (Mansa, 2017). However, many researchers argue that the use of assistive technologies in libraries can prevent kids from learning vital academic skills while leading to loss of some aptitude among adult users.
Impact of Assistive Technologies in Libraries
Modern libraries are increasingly developing numerous forms of AT to help their target audience to reach their goals. As a result, AT has a myriad of benefits to those who rely on them for effective utilization of the library (Silton & Silton, 2015). First, using assistive technologies, such as computers and smartphones in the library allow users to have easy access to information regardless of their geographical location.
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