e’re well into 2009 now, but there’s always time for trends!

Kathryn Greenhill at Librarians Matter recently compiled a few of the trends that have been making the rounds on library blogs last month.

Cloud, Semantic Web, and Linked Data abound in predictions and in posts emerging through the first two months of the year. It’s looking to be a big year for the Semantic Web in libraries. Add this to the growth in data curation, digital preservation, and eResearch in libraries and there are interesting times ahead. Most of these issues and trends are also mentioned by other contributors to LITA’s 2009 Top Tech Trends.

So what are my predictions for the rest of the year? I’m going to be conservative and just name four. What are yours?

1. The cloud goes desktop

People are getting increasingly worried about losing what they have created. Whether it’s Facebook changing Terms of Service so that even stuff you delete is still owned by them, or Ma.gnolia taking a catastrophic dive and losing most of its data, slowly but surely I think we will start to see people want to be able to synchronise the data they keep online either with other services or with their desktop. This is of course, but one possible use of Data Portability. People are still not aware of the need to back up their desktops, but i think they’re going to want a button to push to back up their cloud.

2. The rise and rise of metadata

Metadata is cool again. Whether you are working in research services, preservation, or reference, metadata helps you find and get stuff and that’s pretty essential to sift through all the crud out there. I’m not talking MARC – I’m talking EAD, PREMIS, SEPIA and much much more. I will be interested to see those that continue to move beyond metadata and start to expose collections beyond their institutions using methods other than OAI-PMH, like linked data.

3. The death of mobile sites

If you are building a specific mobile site or looking at buying a mobile module for your OPAC, stop. The number of sites built specifically for mobile devices has plummeted, not only due to the popularity of the iPhone and other smartphones with browsers, but because it’s a pain to have to build and maintain these sites. The .mobi domain seems to be slipping but m. is gaining hold (eg m.facebook.com). Smart sites are using content negotiation and web standards to display sites on mobile devices, without having to build separate sites to display less information. The mobile web isn’t second-best any more.

4. Librarians get personal

Many of us are now so familiar with blogs and wikis it hardly seems worth mentioning them as shiny new things any more. So what’s next? The library blogosphere has been in a bit of a lull of late, with few major shifts or emerging technologies for everyone to band around. But for me, this is the year more libraries have to get personal. – Not only designing websites that can be personalised, allowing you to save favourite resources, pages and references, but also in building tools for you – LibX for you, not just the institutional level, more subject guides that feature the human librarian that you are talking to behind the email, and even allowing you to personalise the physical space. And this is something I think we can all band around.

Originally published on the semanticlibrary.net blog