Disks and built-in cameras impact film.
The digital age has necessitated a transformation for institutions of all types. In the corporate world, venerable companies such as Kodak have faced the challenge of their main product (film) giving way to disks and built-in cameras on computers, smartphones, and tablets. In Kodak's case, it hopes to emerge from bankruptcy by mid-year 2013.
On the community side, the public library is one place that many thought was in jeopardy with the growth of technology, particularly as it reached down to the individual level. What has happened in many cases, however, is that libraries have reinvented themselves. Many features are available online at library websites, not to mention hardware and software available in your local neighborhood facility.
The Pew Research Center just released an interesting study that targeted preferences among library visitors, especially on the technology side. Pew found that individuals were either somewhat or very likely to use the following features, among others:
It's interesting to note that those with lower incomes and less education were the most interested in accessing the various technology features. Technology, however, is viewed as one element within a library that still must work in tandem with printed material. The full report, Library Services in the Digital Age, is posted on the Pew Research website.
Could this be the weather at the 2014 Super Bowl?
Next week's Super Bowl will take place in New Orleans in the Superdome, an indoor stadium in a location where the temperatures are generally pleasant this time of year. Fast forward to February 2, 2014, where the NFC and AFC champions will square off in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Is this crazy or a wonderful idea?
As a long-time New Jersey resident, I think it's a little of both. If you search online, you will find numerous references to the 1958 NFL championship game as the greatest game ever played. It was held at Yankee Stadium, with the Baltimore Colts defeating the New York Giants in overtime. There were numerous future Hall of Famers playing in the game or on the sidelines. The Giants' coaching staff included Offensive Coordinator Vince Lombardi and Defensive Coordinator Tom Landry.
Winters in the metropolitan New York City area are predictably unpredictable. In late October 2011, we had a major snowstorm, but that was followed by a relatively dry Winter with moderate temperatures. Exactly a year later in 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed many coastal communities in New Jersey and New York, most of which are still trying to recover. There hasn't been much snow in early 2013, but this week has seen the coldest temperatures in years.
Rumor has it that the AFC team will practice in the Jets' training facility a few miles from home. The NFC team will practice in the Giants' facility, a few more miles away, but in a different direction. For a couple of weeks, some of New Jersey's great cultural institutions and restaurants probably will see some of their busiest days. Hotels assuredly will be booked and overpriced.
Within a short driving distance of next year's site are some wonderful places to visit: New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange, Eagle Rock Reservation (also in West Orange, it has an incredible panoramic view of New York City and also has a beautiful 9/11 memorial), the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City (near which you can hop aboard a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island), the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, the Great Swamp in Chatham, George Washington's Headquarters at the Ford Mansion in Morristown, and so much more. Despite what you might have heard, New Jersey is not just refineries and "which exit". Our State's diverse population (not to mention restaurants) truly reflects the melting pot ideal that defines the United States.
So whatever the weather may be next year, it should be a very exciting time for New Jersey to welcome the world - a crazy, wonderful idea to host Super Bowl XLVIII.
Mobile internet soaring like NYC skyscrapers
Within the past year or two, there were various predictions that internet access via mobile devices would exceed PC-based usage in a few years, generally by 2015. As it turns out, this transformation is occurring even faster than expected. According to the latest data from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the use of portable devices for accessing information on the internet shows no sign of slowing down. A January 8, 2013 news release reports that tablet sales in 2013 are expected to soar 45% over 2012, from 80 million to 116 million tablets. Undoubtedly, this has been fueled by the success of the iPad and Android devices. While smartphone growth is more modest, from 111 million last year to 130 million in 2013, it is still substantial. According to a Gartner, Inc. news release, consumers will access information more on their smartphones than on a PC starting this year. Gartner identifies this as a key technology trend for 2013. Pew Research reports that access of the internet via a mobile device doubled between 2009 and 2012.
Tablets and smartphone are simply much more convenient than PCs for accessing information. They are extremely portable, lightweight devices. Back in the 1990s, IT department support for anything other than Windows operating systems was rare. Today, Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems are all around us. IT departments have had to adjust to support these devices. Gartner calls the trend a "Nexus of Forces," impacting cloud, social, mobile, and information trends. It will be interesting to follow these trends in the months and years ahead.
Computers at libraries popular, despite mobile bookshelves
Technological change often presents both a threat and an opportunity. On the retail side, Blockbuster was once a very popular neighborhood video rental store. Many of its locations have closed and the remaining locations are part of the Dish Network. Movie downloads via iTunes, Netflix, and other channels have made it much more convenient to rent movies from the comfort of your own home or on the go. A trip to Borders to find books, music, and movies is no longer possible since it shut its doors for good. One would think that non-profit and public institutions would suffer a similar fate, but in many cases, the opposite is proving true.
While e-readers and tablets are very popular, the presence of internet access in public libraries is enabling millions of people to be connected regardless of financial circumstances. In the mid-1990's, only about three in ten libraries had internet access. Today it is nearly universal. According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), about one-third of the American population age 14+ accessed the internet at a public library during the recent recession. The IMLS attributes this popularity to the unique role of libraries as a resource that can address both the computing and information needs of a community. According to the Pew Research Center, more than three-quarters of those surveyed consider web access very important. This importance was particularly high among among women, as well as in the Black and Hispanic population groups. Many individuals access job hunting, benefits, healthcare, financial, and other information this way. In fact, many libraries cannot keep up with the demand for access.
While growing numbers of people are now accessing library tools with smartphones and tablets, it will be interesting to see if pricing of these devices has any impact on the use of public libraries. Overall, contrary to what one might have assumed in the digital age, libraries appear to be growing in importance rather than being in decline and the answer to a recent New York Times debate on whether we still need libraries would be a resounding YES.
Blog Author - Ken Felsher
With over 25 years of writing, editing, and research experience. I enjoy sharing with my readers my love of working with content on a variety of subjects.
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