But that’s not a bad thing. And this is a concept with which we should be getting accustomed to—especially in academic libraries, where we often attempt to study new technologies, find ways they may facilitate learning, support research, and access information easier, faster, and more efficiently. However, it can be difficult to understand where new technologies are coming from, what might be relevant, useful, and something that will affect us—librarians—and library users.
Good news, we have help in getting directions about which technologies might be useful, relevant, and even sustainable.
For example, the Horizon report outlines a number of them each year…. (insert popped images/words of these technologies)
Starting in July of 2005, Gartner started compiling an emerging technologies timeline, calling it “the Gartner Hype Cycle”
Gartner uses it’s hype cycle to illustrate the growth pattern emerging technologies may take before becoming sustainable and mainstream (insert gartner graph(s)—most recent one for sure, but maybe flip through 5-7 old ones, too?)
Predicting which technologies will be game changers and which will fade into oblivion is not easily attempted. But, I suspect that technologies that build upon established information systems, but which display potential to support future emerging technologies, may have an advantage.
Which brings me to:NFC—Near Field Communications—a technology referenced in recent and past issues of both the horizon report and in the annual Garner Hype Cycle. The technology, built upon RFID—or radio frequency identification (itself a relatively old technology devised to track military aircraft during the 1940’s)—is emerging and growing evermore significant because of the growth in use/ownership of mobile devices. As smartphone and NFC-devices become fully ubiquitous, this technology will become fairly mainstream—expected in the next 2-3 years.
What is it?
The Internet of Things uses NFC—a form of RFID to allow inatimate objects to be programmed and communicate information to devices, other NFC enabled objects, or information systems such as databases, social networks and email recipients. The term Internet of things is often used interchangably with NFC—sometimes appropriately, sometimes not. But there are similarities and these examples form the consumer side of electronics provides a good example of how NFC can be used and applied in settings such as libraries and healthcare.
Why have I chosen NFC to discuss today?Potential value/use in libraries but,Specifically academic libraries, andTo put an even finer point on it, academic health science libraries connected to or affiliated with health care facilities and directly committed to supporting with health science programs like nursing, medicine, dentistry, social work, & pharmacy, as HSHSL does.
Physical objects provide users with electronic informationFinding, locating, and browsing for materialsPrint materials that communicate digital information—review, full-text access, collection /circulation information,Share bib info for users to import into bib software accountEmail citation to colleagues Print
Electronic resources tagged, ‘book-marked’ at relevant physical locations, perhaps along side physical collectionsObjects, art pieces, materials, signage share multi-media—videos, audio, images, etc. on users mobile devices to augment materials, collection, help users w/ way-finding, & more
Usability/social study testing, evaluation
Monitor facility use—furniture, group study areas, and other resources not traditionally associated with electronic information/data
What can out clothing tell us about our vital signs, sleep patterns, overall health?
No doubt endless possibilities in emergency response, disaster preparation
Naturally, NFC and the adoption of this technology in a library or any sort of organization will require significant efforts to have buy-in from other IT partners, administrators, and embraced by potential users. This of course will require a marketing strategy to ensure collaboration at appropriate points/groups and effective communication strategies to ensure users understand the benefits of using the technology. Without fully detailing marketing, communication, and project management plans that would need to be developed, I would propose basing these efforts on an foundation of 5 major talking points that will guide efforts to ensure the success of the project. These talking points concisely outline why NFC is appropriate, relevant, and benefits various groups and stakeholders on campus. Again, these will be the focal points to establish and justify discussion of NFC. Those points are as follows:
NFC is a mobile technology—increasingly built into devices and with the continued growth and ubiquity of mobile devices, NFC also has the potential to be more accessible to more users (contrast this with QR codes)Mobility has become and will continue to become an necessity in how we access and how our user access information. NFC will assist us in doing this better.
So, the point in discussing NFC in academic health sciences libraries and healthcare, with applications in both libraries and healthcare specifically, an academic health sciences library with being closely associated, aligned with healthcare facilities, huge potential for cross disciplinary actions, translating to:
So, I’ve spent time discussing Near Field communications, and how it is or could be applied in libraries and in healthcare. And at this point in the discussion, I would like to ask a few questions, rhetorically…How might libraries—academic health science libraries, specifically, not only use NFC to further their mission to serve users, but to collaborate with healthcare providers also using NFC applications/tools to create new opportunities for this technology to elevate health literacy, enhance access to health information, and generally just improve health.
Near Field Communications in Libraries & Healthcare
Near Field Communication:On the Horizon for Librariesand HealthcareAndrew YoungkinUniversity of Maryland, BaltimoreHealth Sciences/Human Services LibraryMarch 4, 2013
Why NFC? Library & Healthcare Applications Mobile Technology Facilitates User Access Supports Data Collection Analytics Research Potential
NFC in Libraries User physical/digital identification Increased security Personal library settings/experience—account management
NFC in Libraries User authentication for access to physical & digitalenvironments Reserve/access study rooms, specific collections Computers, printers, other shared electronic resources Mobile payments
1. NFC = Mobility Responds to trends in mobile access/use Responds to trends in increased device ownership Expected all new mobile devices will have NFChardware built-in in 2-3 years (many have it currently) NFC can also stand alone and users don’t need a mobiledevice to collect/send data
2. NFC= Access• Greater access to library resources in formats usersprefer, resulting in increased use• Enhanced access to resources to add value to userexperience
3. NFC= Data Resource/Service analytics Facility management Learning informatics Health informatics Research applications to use to support personal healthrecord Library information systems
4. NFC= Outcomes Health Sciences libraries integral toresearching, using, applying NFC to: reduce healthcare costs and improve health/patient outcomes Enhanced value of health sciences libraryresources, services in medical settings
5. NFC= Opportunity Teaching Learning Research Collaboration Service