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Bohyun Kim's picture

Program Proposals for 2010 ALA for Emerging Technologies Interest Group

Any ideas on what kind of emerging technologies you would like to learn at 2010 ALA annual?

Please post here by adding the comments below:

Jacquelyn Paulin (non-member)'s picture

I think everyone is highly interested in emerging technologies.  There has been a boom in library jobs with such a title as "emerging technologies specialist."  In general I think librarians are getting a good handle on how to find out about what is going on, but what about evaluating it?  When things are emerging, it's hard to find literature on studies discussing their impact and if the time developing them was worth the result.  After all, the technology just became available.  But I think it would helpful to have a session on practical advice for determining the cost/time ratio, how to determine if you are capable of taking it on (have the support, know-how, time, money, talent), and how to build in assessment so that you can see if the tool actually does what you think it does.

Kelli Staley's picture

I too think Evaluation is a crucial and relevant topic. At the session at the Palmer House, they also mentioned evaluation of current tools and how to decide when to kill them (as opposed to 'sandbox' evaluations.)

Plenty of literature exists on weeding physical collections, how do we weed our digital features and services? (not databases, but former "emerging" tech)

As many of us are constantly experimenting with new things, something aimed at determining relevance to our individual communities and how to implement plans to sunset certain tools. 


Also discussed were topics relating more to programming (drupal) but I do not think this is an appropriate topic, I know I was one of the few public libraries represented, and the academics need to remember everybody doesn't have staffing resources needed for programming. Perhaps conferences such as Computers in Libraries, or Internet Librarian are better venues for that sort of topic. This should be kept in mind, especially if the goal is to sponsor a program that will be well attended by ALA members of various positions: Directors, Supervisors, and those with the cool technology job titles.  

(my two cents)

Ben Haines's picture

I agree; public libraries approach emerging technologies with a different set of priorities than academic libraries. This isn't to say that they're incapable of implementing new systems, or that their community of users is less sophisticated. But public libraries support users from toddlers to the elderly, meet needs from social to academic, and often have to do without an IT department (or even an IT librarian).  I'd love to see more of an emphasis on practical, easy to develop technologies for meeting the needs of a wide variety of patrons.

Jacquelyn Paulin (non-member)'s picture

The deadline for submitting the session idea for next year is July 31st.  So I guess we need a concensus about the topic and also people willing to work on it this year.  That means we need speakers or people who know someone who can speak to the topic.  We need to articulate the name and content of the session.

 If you have not contributed yet, please do so now!

Bohyun Kim's picture

Was the proposal submitted yet?

Ken Fujiuchi's picture

Or how I learned to become the human database for bleeding edge technologies. 

I would be interested in trying to form an official job description of what is expected of an Emerging Technology Librarian. I was originally hired as an instructional librarian, but my advocating of some Emerging Technology led to my title change later on. I often get questions about my job description, and I have yet to find an official description. I often find myself acting as the human emerging technology database on campus, only because when someone asks about Twitter, I am the only one that knows about it. I end up being the first point of contact on emerging technologies on my campus. This may be a unique situation for my place of work, but I thought it might be interesting to setup a panel discussion of current emerging technology librarians and see if we can get a consensus about the role of the emerging technology librarian now and for the future.

Erin Ellis's picture

MTSU recently posted a job ad for:

User Services Librarian – Emerging Technologies


Under general direction of the Coordinator for User Services and the Team Leader for Reference and Instructional Services, the successful candidate will identify and promote the use of emerging and existing technologies, collaborating with other librarians and the campus community to provide innovative library services designed to enrich the university learning experience.  He/she will take an active role in defining, planning, and implementing new learning spaces and services in support of student learning.

  • Work with library colleagues to assess services and technologies and recommend, design, and implement new services
  • Create library research and technology guides to enhance access to services and collections.
  • Promote reference, research, and learning support services and resources.
  • Provide general and specialized reference service in person, via email, and through reference IM, including some partial Sundays and evening hours
  • Provide leadership with library services related to technological applications including multimedia technologies.
  • Participate in other Reference and Instructional Services programs and projects, such as Research Coach (individual reference appointments).
  • Serve as a member of the Reference and Instructional Services Team.
  • Teach general library research classes to undergraduate and graduate students using two electronic classrooms.
  • Participate in library technology committees and work groups.

 I, too, am curious about how this role is defined in, not only job ads, but also in official position descriptions.  Those I've come across in the last year are kind of all over the board in terms of responsibilities and qualifications.  And it seems, not unlike Ken's experience, that people sort of fall into these positions by way of their own professional/personal interested rather than a defined need expressed by the organization.  What does this mean for the individual taking on these responsibilties?  How does that impact the organization and those people the ET librarian has to work with?

Patricia Anderson ETechLib (non-member)'s picture

I've had similar experiences to Ken, with becoming a go-to person across campus for a wide variety of departments and functions. I see this as a good thing, but it can also be a bit confusing and sometimes overwhelming.

 When I first started my position as ETechLib I wanted to find some way to get a sense of "am I doing good?" and "am I spending my time the right way?"I found the metrics really challenging. There are social media metrics, but I'm not sure they are relevant to assessing the quality of the work. So I am also interested in this line of enquiry.

Patrick Griffis's picture

My thoughts are that we could have a panel of Emerging Technology Librarians who could discuss the role of such positions (as was suggested by Ken and Erin) as well as their views and experiences in evaluating (ans adopting) emerging technologies (as was suggested by Jacquelyn).

Here is a stab at a title to give the general idea (I'm not married to this particular iteration by any means).

"What is an Emerging Technology Librarian and What Do They Do: A Discussion on Roles and Practices of an Emerging Position"


In terms of idetifying speakers, we could send out a call in lita-l and etig-l asking for people in Emerging Technology Librarian type positions to consider volunteering to join this panel.

Also, we could indentify a list of people in such positions and invite them directly to consider joining this panel.

It seems as though the Program Planning Committee is flexible about proposals so I think that we should submit a proposal even if we have not nailed down speakers by July 31st.


Bohyun Kim's picture

I like the idea of panel discussion! And since this was such a hot topic in our meeting at ALA, I am sure it will draw a lot of interests. For the panel, I have some suggestions. I think it would be good to hear from three groups of people.  (I would be happy to volunteer to work on programming work to make this happen! )

(1) Librarians whose title is emerging technology.. or those whose titles are not emerging technology librarians but performing a similar role. 

We can ask them to discuss topics such as (again just my suggestion): What Emerging Technology Librarians do daily; what they expected before and what they are experiencing now; the environment they work in and the problems and challenges they see (I can just enumerate dozens of problems and challenges. I bet we all can!).

NB. I want to stress that it would be good to hear not only from those whose official title includes emerging technology--what they are expected to do and what the difficulties they have-- but also  from other librarians who do not have such title but end up playing such a role (I am one of them and hence the interests.)  Also, only large academic libraries can afford a separate position named so but the reality is that at almost all libraries someone end up playing such a role)  My guess is that there won't be one uniform group of job duties assigned to Emerging Technology Librarians. So the discussion would be interesting

(2) Library directors or supervisors who created the emerging Tech Librarian position and hired and managing those librarians. 

What they expect from Emerging Technology Librarians and what was the background of creating such positions. What environment those librarians are working at their organizations. What they expect to be the benefit of those new positions. And what changes were made by them so far.

(3) Technology experts (both inside and outside library-land) who will have informative views on Issues regarding emerging technologies at libraries

--What are emerging technologies exactly? Are blogs, wikis, podcasting, facebook emerging technologies? Or are cloud computing, ruby on rails, APIs, semantic web emerging technologies? (sorry that examples are chosen without much thought...) The issue I see is that a lot of emerging technologies are not really emerging in the sense that they are new in IT world. They seem to be perceived as emerging because libraries are trying to integrate them into library organizations and services. But this issue is still confusing. We discussed this at ALA meeting and others seemed to be interested as well. This issue also raises a question for librarians: Are libraries interested in technology tools that are already pretty much established and trying to integrate them into our libraries; or are we more interested in being on the bleeding edge of technology in general?  What is the opinion of emerging tech librarians and more importantly the views of library directors and managers?

--What is the process of evaluating, implementing, and adopting new technologies into libraries, if this is done by emerging tech librarians? Who else or what department in libraries are involved and how? What resources do emerging tech librarians rely on for evaluating technologies? What is the difference in roles in the process between emerging Tech librarians and IT? (This will much vary depending on the size and type of library--academic public large small libraries having its own IT or not ...)





S.G. Ranti Junus's picture

I like Bohyun's idea about the variety of the panel members. It'd help us to understand the whole picture. 

Although, to be frank, I'm a bit tired with panel format mostly because we tend to run out of time and not enough time to get meaningful discussions.  I imagine this kind of panel would generate plenty of discussions/debates/conversations.

I wonder if we could have two kinds:

- panel

- managed discussions for each of those three perspectives that Bohyun described above.



Ken Fujiuchi's picture

I might suggest something like the Ignite presentation format:


and just have a Emerging Technology Librarians come up and present on what they do on a day to day basis. You can still have a panel format but have the panelists present in the 5 minute "Ignite" segments, and then leave the rest open to discussions and questions.

Erin Ellis's picture

That is a fantastic idea!  These types of presentations are always fun, and there's always plenty of time to engage in discussion.  Although, depending on the number of 'panelists,' it might be a good idea to have some discussion starters ready for when/if the conversation stalls a bit.

 And that's a good point about: What is an "emerging technology?"  And would be a great way to start the session - ask everyone to in attendance to answer it via Twitter, writing it down, raising their hand, etc.  Each panelist could also give their own personal definition, too.


Jacquelyn Paulin (non-member)'s picture

I think the idea of 5 minute presentations from emerging technology librarians is a good way to give people a sense of what the position entails.  However i don't think it's enough for people to truely grasp what it takes to pull off the job.  I know this from experience where my dean thought that the web development team couldn't possibly be busy because they get things done so fast.  Having someone give a more thorough explination of the resources it takes to pull off some of these technologies (time, people, expertise, assessment, training, etc.) is important.  The amount of work that goes into production is hard for most people who have never been in the position to work on such projects to understand.  Perhaps many short 5 minute presentations from active emerging technology librarians can set the stage for a longer presentation about the depth of such a position.  Then leave plenty of time for people to ask questions and wrap their minds around the position.

Patricia Anderson ETechLib (non-member)'s picture

Emerging Technologies Librarian: Job Description
Health Sciences Libraries

Duties & Responsibilities

Emerging Technologies (90%)

Participate in activities and services of the Health Sciences Libraries that relate to existing and emerging technologies within libraries and education. Serve as a consultant and advisor for web development, web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies, social networking, virtual worlds such as Second Life, gaming, podcasting, video, e-learning services, distance education, semantic web, and other current and future technologies.

Maintain awareness of developments and current trends and methods in informatics, education, and library technologies. Research emerging technologies relevant to the Health Sciences Libraries and the health sciences professional schools. Identify appropriate applications, test and evaluate their use, and recommend and promote the integration of technology into staff activities, Health Sciences Libraries services, and health sciences education. Provide instruction integrated into the curricula of the schools of medicine, nursing, public health, pharmacy, and dentistry. Develop promotional materials and demonstrate technologies in support of HSL mission and goals. Enhance existing technology and informatics services and develop new services of the HSL through grants and partnership within and outside the University. Support the integration of new technologies through participation in the grants of health science faculty. Facilitate integration of technology and informatics into the curriculum and research of health sciences faculty and staff. Contribute to the regular evaluation and development of HSL staff capabilities and understanding of technology and informatics. Coordinate with Information Services and Liaison Librarians as needed. Collaborate with HSL 2.0 committee, PHL informatics division, dental informatics, UMMS Office of Enabling Technologies, Bioinformatics Interest Group, and other relevant university and library groups. Support liaison and reference activities as they relate to informatics and technology. Participate in curriculum-integrated instruction and other teaching activities in collaboration with liaisons and Infopoint staff.

Professional Development (10%)

Pursue relevant continuing education opportunities, including in-service programs, classes, workshops, seminars, and conferences to keep informed of new and emerging technologies and their applications to library services and health sciences education. Participate in
relevant regional and/or national level professional organizations and associations. Publish results of emerging technology projects and their associated evaluations and present at national meetings.

Kathryn Greenhill (non-member)'s picture

Just sharing in response to Jenny L's tweet last night...

I'm funded 50% by IT and 50% by the Library to look at Emerging Technolgies for my university (Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia) ...but I consider almost 100% of what I do to be librarianship. Some people may disagree...which is an interesting talking point in itself.


Here is my job description:

Primary Role of Position:




The primary role of this position is to research, evaluate, develop, communicate, and train library staff and the campus community in new technological tools likely to affect information provision and Teaching and Learning in higher education.



Key outcomes/responsibilities/duties:

1. Work with the Learning Technology Steering Group to:



Maintain current awareness of emerging and evolving ideas and technological tools for library and information management, educational technology and higher education via research, professional literature, online resources, professional development activities and personal networking.


Evaluate emerging and evolving ideas and technological tools for library and information management and educational technology to determine those relevant to library staff and the campus community.


Review and advise library management, staff, students and the campus community of the possible use, likely impact and strategic value of relevant technological tools and ideas.


Initiate, design and provide effective training for staff, students and the campus community in relevant new technological tools via workshops, presentations, lectures, tutorials, one-on-one instruction, online tutorials and other methods as required.


Initiate, design and coordinate experimental implementations of potential and emerging services using new technological tools.


Evaluate and advise of possible production-level projects using new technological tools.


Contribute to Emerging Technology-related policy.



Other duties as required



Essential Criteria:


(Note: No applicant will be granted an interview unless it is clearly demonstrated that they meet essential criteria.


  1. University degree in an appropriate subject area
  2. Professional Library qualification
  3. A user-centred approach to service provision
  4. Highly developed communication skills
  5. Demonstrated understanding and hands-on proficiency in Web2.0 technologies relevant to library services and Teaching and Learning
  6. Ability to work independently with minimal supervision
  7. Ability to manage time and set priorities
  8. Ability to implement new services and processes
  9. Creative, innovative and flexible approach to work

Leadership skills 




Desirable Criteria:

  1. Familiarity with current trends in Teaching and Learning in university and library environments
  2. Experience in developing and implementing training programs
  3. Knowledge of developments in the provision of information services
  4. Knowledge and understanding of Equal Employment Opportunity legislation
  5. Knowledge and understanding of Occupational Safety and Health legislation and  regulations specific to the area of work








Patricia Anderson ETechLib (non-member)'s picture

Bravo! I very much liked what you said about being 100% librarian. I get a lot of blank looks when asked what I do and I say, "I'm the Emerging Technologies Librarian for the Health Sciences at the University of Michigan." A few folks say, "Cool!" or "Awesome job title," but most are baffled. Every now and then another librarian will admit they don't get it, or say they don't get the point of having a job for this, since this should be part of every librarian's job. I actually gave a presentation a couple months ago where I took what I do in a fairly typical month and matched that up with 'traditional' library skills. You know what? I'm still using the same types of skills, just with different stuff. ;)


Jacquelyn Paulin (non-member)'s picture

The general consensus for the Emerging Technologies Interest Group's session for the ALA annual conference in 2010 is a panel discussion about what is an emerging technology librarians and what do they do.  Here is my proposed information to sumbit tomorrow to LITA.  Please feel free to edit before 3pm eastern time tomorrow (friday the 31st).


Title: Emerging Technologies Librarians: Who are we & what do we do

Description: As budgets get tight and the library's website becomes more and more the "front door" to the library, there is a need for a new type of librarian.  The Emerging Technologies Librarian is a response to the need for libraries to be innovative with technology and knowing that to keep up with technology you need a fulltime person.  Please join us in a discussion about why your library may need an Emerging Technologies Librarian, what are the job reponsibilities and skills needed for a candidate in such a position, and what types of projects Emerging Technologies Librarians are producing.


There is a call for preferred dates and times for the session.  I'll just select two dates/times unless someone has a preference.

In regards for technology I will ask for power for laptops, wifi for attendees, internet access for presenters (so you can show your work) and a projector.  Anything else?

Also, if you would like to present please send me a message off the wiki at erdmanj@ecu.edu.  Once I have a good amount of people we can all discuss what topics to articulate in the session and how long to give each person.

Sound good?


Jacquelyn Paulin (non-member)'s picture

Just in from LITA.  They have extended the deadline until Aug 14th.  So you have next week to make suggestions for changes and I will wrap up everything the following week.  FYI I am on vacation all next week.

Bohyun Kim's picture

Bohyun Kim's picture

Below is a revised program proposal based upon the discussion that took place in this discussion board. What do you think?
Please post suggestions and comments below!

Thank you!


Program Proposal for 2010 ALA  
Emerging Technologies Interest Group

Program Title:  What Is Your Library Doing about Emerging Technologies?
   (or Today’s Libraries and Emerging Technologies)

Program Proposal

A new job title called “Emerging Technology Librarian” started making an appearance in the library word since in late 2008.  This relatively new job title seems to reflect an awareness among today’s libraries that there is a need for a librarian whose main role is to explore, evaluate, promote, and implement various emerging technologies. This awareness seems to be shared by libraries which could not afford to create a new position but still end up either officially or unofficially designating some librarian(s) to play the role of a so-called Emerging Technologies Librarian, thereby making them de facto Emerging Technology Librarians.

In the panel discussion, we will discuss how today’s libraries are innovating and keeping up with emerging technologies from two different perspectives: library managers and librarians who play the role of emerging technology librarians. In addition, the panel will also discuss effective strategies for evaluating and assessing emerging technologies.

Program Structure Outline

(1) Discussion Starter:
What are exactly emerging technologies to libraries? Are libraries interested in technology tools that are already pretty much established and trying to integrate them into their organizations and services? Or are libraries more interested in being on the bleeding edge of technology in general?

(2) From Library Directors’ point of view (Possibly 5 min. Ignite segment format):
Does your library have a librarian who maintain, explore, evaluate, and implement emerging technologies? What do libraries expect from those librarians? What was the background if a library created a new position for emerging technologies and hired a librarian for it? What is the expected benefit of having librarians who mainly deal with emerging technologies and what changes/improvement have been made by those librarians?

(3) From Librarians’ point of view (Possibly 5 min. Ignite segment format):
What exactly does a Emerging Technology Librarian or a librarian who maintain and manage emerging technologies do on a daily basis?  What is the environment in which librarians who deal with emerging technologies work? What are the challenges? What are the projects either completed or in progress? How can a Emerging Technology Librarian persuade library management to adopt emering technologies?

(4) Strategies for Evaluating and Assessing Emerging Technologies
(Discussion format):
What are libraries’ strategies for evaluating and assessing emerging technologies? How does a library decide on adopting a certain technology and how is the technology assessed after the implementation?  Are there any procedures or methods currently in use at libraries for making those decisions?

Jacquelyn Paulin (non-member)'s picture

Today was the due date to submit a proposal for a session.  The above description from Bohyun Kim gives a good idea of how we hope to structure the session.  She and I will organize the session over the next year, so if you are interested in being on the panel, please contact one of us.


The offical description that I sent into LITA (due to a number of words limitation) is the following:


A new job role of “Emerging Technology Librarian” seems to reflect an awareness among today’s libraries that there is a need for a librarian whose main role is to explore, evaluate, promote, and implement various emerging technologies. In a panel discussion, we will discuss how today’s libraries approach emerging technologies from two perspectives: library managers and librarians. In addition, the panel will also discuss effective strategies for evaluating and assessing emerging technologies."

Jacquelyn Paulin (non-member)'s picture

In case anyone is looking at this discussion list for updates, I just wanted to say that i have not received a yay or nay as of yet if the session was accepted.

Bohyun Kim's picture

Hopefully we will hear soon about it. Thx!