Technology Advances – SERIOUSLY!

For many months in many Posts I’ve been advocating that technology advances are having a significant impact on library services and the fundamental role of libraries, because it is the technology advances that are making the most visible and dramatic changes. From Jeopardy expert computers that will make the reference librarian obsolete to the touch panel glass that will transform libraries physically. Here’s one that seems to have been overlooked. I suggest that it is one that can be added to the list of Technologies to Watch.

I’ve said “nature abhors a vacuum”, and where there is a demand commercial vendors are stepping in to fill that void. Business is more nimble and responds to market demands MUCH faster than any library organization. But librarians MUST keep in touch with our customers just as surely as any business, and respond accordingly with innovative services.

Ever hear of Zediva? “It offers the 100 biggest movies for streaming on the very same day the DVD comes out.” according to a New York Times article written by David Pogue. He writes;

The price is only $2 for one movie or $1 if you buy a 10-pack. There’s no signup fee, no monthly fee, no hardware to buy.

Zediva’s secret is so outrageous, you may think it’s an early April Fool’s prank. But it’s no joke.

At its California data center, Zediva has set up hundreds of DVD players. They’re automated, jukebox-style. You’re not just renting a movie; you’re actually taking control of the player that contains the movie you want. The DVD is simply sending you the audio and video signals, as if it were connected to your home with a really, really long cable.

It’s kind of hilarious to think that this arrangement is the solution to the future of online movies: data centers stacked to the ceiling with DVD players.

While the Comments submitted to this article were mostly positive, there was some opinion that it will never fly for various technology or legal reasons. Time will tell, but the reality is that the demand was so great that Zediva had to halt registrations.

The real point of highlighting this specific new technology to hit the market is that it demonstrates that there are so many more new, innovative and resourceful ideas out there than we can possibly imagine. Change Is Not Coming – IT’S HERE! Libraries MUST recognize that and accept that they either change or they die. It’s that simple!


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2 responses to “Technology Advances – SERIOUSLY!

  1. I do not believe that computers will ever replace humans in libraries. That personal touch would be missed, and we saw that the Jeopardy super-computer had many, many flaws.

    • All computers have flaws “initially” until some smart people work the bugs out, then they become feasible for common use – which people do then use. Computers were first used during WWII, then refined to fit in one room, as opposed to one building. Tubes were replaced by resistors, etc., etc., and the refinement process gets shorter and shorter as computers and people get smarter about making them.

      What do you suppose Watson will be used for? Maybe it will just replace special library reference librarians, not public because only businesses could afford Watson. How long before Watson becomes affordable for in-home use, like the desk top computer that only businesses could afford in the early 1980s?

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