11 Ideas About Which I May Be Wrong

Not me actually, but Joshua Kim on the blog Technology and Learning. Kim's blog is easily the most relevant to libraries of the Inside Higher Ed BlogU stable, even more so than the apparently defunct Keywords from a Librarian which always seemed bizarrely stuck in 1979.

Anyways, Kim's latest piece is 11 Ideas About Which I May Be Wrong, but really should have been titled "11 Things that you're going to have to convince that I'm wrong." While some of the items are a bit narrowly defined and perhaps not too relevant to the library world, I think on most of them he's pretty well right on target.

Here's the list, with a couple of them filled out with his full comments:

  1. Open Content.
  2. Open Student Blogs / LMS.
  3. Copyright.
  4. Attention. Education, course work, and curriculum is but one competitor in the marketplace of attention. We can spend all of our time saying that our students should devote the sort of attention and focus that we devoted to our classwork, and that we should not pander to their wants or compete with the media. But the reality is that students have far more demands on their attention than we did, and we are in a competition to convince our students to fall in love with the academic material as we did. Therefore, we must find ways to deliver our educational content and and learning opportunities through mediums that are interactive, engaging, and relevant.
  5. Open Source.
  6. Strengths.
  7. Grading.
  8. Blackboard.
  9. Apps. Apps, those developed for the iPad, Touch, iPhone, and Android devices, will change educational delivery and learning technology. Apps will complement the capabilities and benefits of browser based learning technology delivery. This is a both/and and not an either/or story.
  10. Mobile.
  11. NCAT.

At the end, he asks, "What are you wrong about?" In other words, what do you think you're right about and would like someone to prove you wrong about?

I'll take the bait:

  • The biggest transformation in libraries over the next 10 years will be our relationship to stuff. Crumbling media business models and a movement to open access and more broadly to open content will challenge us to find things worth paying for.
  • As a corollary to the first point, sometime in the next 10 years I will buy my last print book.
  • Perhaps the biggest challenge in our relationship to our host institutions will be justifying the expense of transforming what we now have as collection space into various spaces for students. A lot of other constituencies will want that space and that money.

What are you wrong about?

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I hope I'm wrong in saying that libraries will be able to license less and less of the content that is out there. Searchers and teachers will need their credit card to be successful in the future. We'll have more but less spread, with many channels, publishers that we have now, off limits.

Well, James, maybe it could go the other way too, in a 5-10 year time frame. Publishers are locking stuff up because they're afraid of crumbling business models, of a upcoming generation of scholars for whom openness will be like breathing.

I like Clay Shirky's recent blog post on The Collapse of Complex Business Models. I think that it's as much about the future of scholarly publishing as it is about TV or newspapers. It's scarce information that people are really willing to pay for. For now, the scarcity is on the side of the publishers but how long is it going to be before scholars realize that they're the ones who are the scarce resource and they should be the ones calling the shots.