New trends in
Libraries with IT, AI &
Mokhtar BEN HENDA
Bordeaux Montaigne University, October 2019
“it is the library’s obligation to be at the edge of
different uses of culture and uses of technology”
[Manager of Library and Citizen Service at Roskilde Libraries in Denmark]
Libraries should be right at the heart of key
national policies and strategies for economic;
social and cultural development.
A key focus is around digital upskilling: the
connection between libraries and digital skills.
“The main mission of libraries is:
– to offer equality of access to information for every citizen.
– to be a trendsetter in digital use and implement more emerging
Libraries are facing change due to impact of ICT:
– Changes in user needs for:
Transition from print to digital,
Full text: digital libraries and added-value services,
New delivery systems: Distant access & Push technologies.
– Changes in referencing systems (Google/Web are replacing
– Changes in professional skills: data scientists, data analysts,
Challenges for libraries of the future
There were, and still exist, entire schools of
cataloguing philosophies and ideologies with true
conflict of opinions regarding the best description
With the advent of electronic data processing, the
classic cataloguing/indexing model was transferred to
the computer world (Relational databases/metadata
schemas and profiles)
The accuracy ideology of librarians was transferred
from the analogue world to the early computer world.
Since the mid-1990s, emergence of digital contents in
a vast range of forms (Big data).
Besides highly structured meta and catalogue data,
increasingly vast quantities of unstructured data
therefore also created.
The library inventory culture and the users’ search
behavior have evidently developed in different
directions: the online “Google style”.
Current technology trends in libraries
Library work no longer focuses only on books, journals and catalogue
data, but also on all manners of unstructured and structured data and
data forms: texts, metadata, images, audio files, videos, research data,
3D digital copies and software.
Referencing, indexing and displaying these contents following the logic of
the 19th century, will be gradually obsolete in front of new technologies.
Libraries do not just have to restrict themselves to their own data. They
can also process and analyze external data sources.
Currently, only 0.5% of all the data worldwide has been analyzed, i.e.
there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved in big data projects.
In the Horizon Project 2017 (an initiative by the New Media Consortium
(NMC) to chart emerging technologies for teaching and learning) big
data is incidentally referred to as one of the six key technological
developments for libraries.
NMC Horizon Report 2017
Impact on libraries
– Direct impact as libraries can use big data tools to analyze their large data
holdings, such as to understand their own users better and thus be able to offer
new or improved services.
better reach of customers,
better connection with the community,
create a personalized user experience
offering content and resources based on each individual wish,
– Indirect impact as users (researchers) will increasingly rely on big data more
frequently in their research.
– Economic impact as big data can also lead to cost reductions, automations and
faster and better decisions, for instance.
Fields of Application in libraries
– data as information sources,
– data analysis (i.e. collecting, cleaning up, integrating and processing),
– Data visualization (presentation and communication).
– lack of qualified skilled staff,
– frequent lack of infrastructure,
– technical challenges (e.g. data formats and tools),
– data protection
– funding problems.
AI is no longer a futuristic technology
as it is gaining more and more traction
in our everyday activities.
With many AI applications focused on
delivering information to the user, it
can appear that AI is a challenge to
Adding an intelligent side to all
applications at the library is a real
opportunity to understand the patterns
in user behavior and adapt to their
What AI gives libraries is the opportunity
to shift focus:
– The way we navigate the information
architecture is changing.
– Access to collections remains important, but
how that access is achieved is changing.
– Libraries can capitalize on the value of AI to
expedite some processes, freeing up finite
resources to focus on enriching the public
library experience for patrons.
Challenges of Integrating AI into Libraries.
– Attracting new and more diverse audiences.
– Providing a faster, better user experience
– Emerging skill gaps,
– Competing with today's alternative sources of information,
– Difficulty to show ROI .
How will libraries continue to meet the increasing
demands of today’s digital information age?
– the near future of library work will be enormously impacted
and perhaps forever changed as a result of AI and machine
learning systems becoming commonplace
– libraries will find that artificial intelligence can play a critical
role in updating and expanding their values and way of
Major concerns raised by
librarians against AI:
– 1. AI (or rather, robots) will replace human
librarians. With an alarming figure of 38% of
jobs at high risk of being replaced by AI in the
next 15 years.
– 2. Human creativity and empathy would no
longer be necessary due to the efficiency of AI,
creating a world in which the library's
connection to its community and valuable
human characteristics are devalued and rare.
– 3. AI would magnify injustices such as
inequality, bias, and discrimination, and help
propagate misinformation. There is already a
lack of basic neutrality in search engine
algorithms. It can also be manipulated for
promoting bias and fake information, or used
for political purposes.
– 4. AI might threaten data privacy, a traditionally
important value to libraries, even more so in
today's digital age.
Artificial Intelligence in the Library: Advantages, Challenges and Tradition. An
Ex Libris Whitepaper, 2017
Blockchain emerging technology
Uses a distributed database that
organizes data into records (blocks)
that have cryptographic validation.
Blocks are timestamped, and are
linked to previous records so that they
can only be changed by those who
own the encryption keys to write the
A means of improving digital badges,
facilitating the transfer, authority, and
reputation of awarded badges and
other digital credentials.
Could eventually transform access to
content and intellectual property,
controlling how many times a user
can access, share, or copy
Blockchains in libraries
Blockchain technology could be used in libraries :
– To build an enhanced metadata system for libraries:
operate as a type of informational register that doesn’t require a
centralized gatekeeping organization, they could be used to build a
truly distributed metadata system for libraries and related
– to keep track of digital-first sale rights as a result of provable
ownership and digital scarcity:
– to connect networks of libraries and universities as an inter-
Planetary File System (IPFS) to validate the credentials of a
given copy of any website
– to support community-based borrowing that could extend the
traditional library collection beyond its walls. The Blockchain
would govern who has borrowed items, who originally loaned
– to facilitate the indexing and sharing of community resources in
a sharing network.
– to secure intellectual property.
Blockchain in the Library? Researchers Explore Potential Applications, Jessica Leigh Brown Feb 1, 2018
Internet of things & libraries
IOT refers to the possibility of connecting
everyday devices and transferring data
between them using RFID.
The library can offer a better user experience
by enriching its services and collections with
– all books become material objects under a strict
and permanent control,
– automating a book return system, equipped with
an automatic sorter,
– tracking room usage,
– program attendance,
– monitoring humidity levels for special collections
The main obstacle for implementing this kind
of system is a high price for RFID equipment
Book-O-Mat, a self-service
kiosk which is monitored
from the main library to
track usage and identify
usage trends and make
A book return system, with
an automatic sorter,
When a customer returns a
book, the system detects it,
confirms its acceptance,
and then using special
conveyers puts the book
into the right bin
Libraries are on of the fields that gets slowly into focus of
Useful and relevant for :
– Augmented books,
– Guided tours,
– Searching for Media / Additional Information,
– Shelf Maintenance,
Most of applications are prototypes, specially designed for a
– myLibrARy: University of Applied Sciences Potsdam [access to all of
the library's resources]
– ShelvAR: Miami University in Oxford, Ohio : [supports librarians to
identify books in the wrong place and for inventory].
– LibrARi: an image-based AR app for mobile devices that supports
users on finding books in the bookshelf
• librARi is an image based augmented reality
application, which allows user to search books
with AR interaction.
• The location of the books is pointed on the
physical space by augmenting pointers.
• The app also allows to find out related books,
which can be again pointed to locate it.
Imagine impact on Dewey or CDU
classification ?!!! http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-2299/paper4.pdf
Generation 4.0 syndrome
First, Web 4.0 features are:
– Reading, writing, and executing simultaneously, intelligence-based agents,
connected web, ubiquitous web, intelligence connections, and intelligence-
Second, the features of Library 4.0 are:
– Intelligence, massive data, augmented reality, context aware, cutting-edge
displays, and infinite creative space.
Third, Industry 4.0 features are:
– Intelligence, Makerspace, Context-Aware Technology, Open Source, Big Data,
Cloud Service, Augmented Reality, State-of-the-art Display, and Librarian 4.0
Library 4.0 challenged by Industry 4.0
The Industrial Revolution 4.0:
– Digitalization, artificial intelligence, internet of things
and big data playing an important role in various
aspects of human life.
Library managers are guessing the next
breakthrough that must be done:
– Not only be a place to gather to read books or
search for information,
– But a digital era, ranging from mobile libraries,
libraries on the wall, hybrid libraries to libraries in
An innovative library:
– Provides new information and generates added
value for the people.
– Become the lungs of knowledge in the world of
research and education.
Library 4.0 challenged by Industry 4.0
What is the 4th IR?
– New ways in which technology becomes embedded within societies.
– Merging technology breakthroughs in a number of fields, including robotics, artificial intelligence,
nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing and autonomous
Among libraries roles:
– Promoting digital Citizenship
– Promoting speed at which digital technology develops
– Endorse jobs upgrading digital skills
– Help for flexible use of technology as a basic information skill in front of information overload
– Empowerment of digital skills to conduct sound research
– Help to distinguish between trusted and fake information on the web
– Training and guiding users to become digital literate
Libraries & Skills
The EU collects data about digital skills annually in its Digital Economy and
Society Index (DESI) in cooperation with IFLA: producing Fact sheets of lib
Skills in EU : https://publiclibraries2030.eu/resources/eu-library-factsheets/
Libraries Lead with Digital:
In the future 9 out of 10 jobs will require digital skills;
In Europe, today 44% (aged 16 to 74) do not have basic digital skills.
Helping people develop their digital skills is both a key goal for public libraries
“Every European needs digital skills to thrive – Libraries play a crucial role in this”
[Commissioner, PublicLibraries2030 (@LibrariesEU) October 8, 2019]
A toolkit created by librarians, for librarians, that will include online
resources and lesson plans to:
help people stay safe online, grow their digital skills, and explore coding ;
help young people and adults discover new opportunities, learn new digital
skills and give everyone the opportunity to create, have fun, find a job,
advance their career or grow their business ;
prepare Europeans from students to young adults to older people, to
navigate the digital world and succeed in today’s job market.
Libraries new trends and challenges
Nearly universal Internet access in public libraries.
But not every library needs the same technologies.
Graying of profession (63% of librarians are > 45 old).
Less spending on books, but higher circulation .
More and bigger electronic resources to buy.
Audiovisual spending is growing.
24/7/365 access and assistance.
Buildings – need flexible, tech-friendly spaces.
Focus on adaptive devices and web design.
Trainings for end-users
Major issues to solve
Confidentiality – privacy, etc.
Access for all – “digital divide”
Archiving of digital resources (patrimonial & long-term access)
One-clic access to resources – easy interfaces
More fee, less free resources?
Marketing the library, finding niches.
Cooperation among libraries.
International library standards (IFLA standards: FRBR, RDA, LRM…)
FRBR, LRM, RDA?
IFLA meeting in Stockholm in 1990: requirements for shared
– Develop a framework for understanding bibliographic record purposes
– Recommend basic level of functionality for national library bibliographic
– Develop core-level standard to reduce cataloging costs
– Ensure that records meet user needs
IFLA FR models:
– FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records)
– FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data)
– FRSAD (Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data)
– was developed was designed to be used in linked data environments in order
to resolve inconsistencies between the three separate models.
– A package of data elements, guidelines, and instructions for creating library
and cultural heritage resource metadata that are well-formed according to
international models for user-focussed linked data applications.
Library as Infrastructure
the library as a network of
infrastructures — in particular,
social, epistemological and
ethical infrastructures — can
help us better identify what
roles we want our libraries to
serve, and what we can
reasonably expect of them.
Rijksmuseum Library, Amsterdam & Google data center in
Council Bluffs, Iowa: huge infrastructure potentials
Library as a platform
Libraries are becoming key nodes
within evolving systems of media
production and distribution for the
development of knowledge and
We need understand how our
libraries function as sites where
spatial, technological, intellectual
and social infrastructures shape
and inform one another.
Libraries should open up their
entire collections, all their
metadata, and any technologies
they’ve created, and allow anyone
to build new products and services
on top of that foundation.
National Library, France acts as an open access platform
Library as a social infrastructure
People turn to the library to access
the internet, take a training class,
get help with a resumé or job
search, and seek referrals to other
community resources, despite the
fact that it’ll never make a profit,
New social services are more and
more associated with libraries, to
benefit even to those who don’t
have an immediate need for its
space or its services
Bobst Library, New York University, after Hurricane Sandy.
Library as intellectual infrastructure
The way a library’s collection is
stored and made accessible
(open/intermediated) shapes the
intellectual infrastructure of the
Many contemporary libraries still
privilege the book and the book
stacks (closed collections).
A common model:
– a large reading room,
– a conservation department,
– a digitization department,
– a subterranean warehouse of books
(retrieved by robot).
MVRDV, Book Mountain, Spijkenisse, The Netherlands
Key areas for libraries to develop into action plans:
– Work with stakeholders such as user communities and colleagues in other professional
groups to undertake more analysis of key trends that affect them and their institutions.
– Consultation with users, to develop more clarity around the print-to-electronic shift and
how it is likely to develop over time, in order to inform strategy and policy formulation.
– Investigate the possibilities of developing collaborations to create meaningful online
scholarly venues to complement library physical spaces.
– Review local responses to the shift from collections to services in order to position the
library effectively in the institution.
– Carry out more work examining the significance of key developments such as artificial
intelligence, machine learning, internet of things, digital humanities and other areas and
begin to develop services in these areas.
– Develop ways of making the preservation of born-digital materials one of the major
priorities of the library community, and how these can be coordinated.
– Consider the balance between collaboration and competition with other institutional
professional services departments as well as external providers in relation to new and
– Review the library’s current staff skills base in the light of these recommendations
Library staff skills upgrading
A leadership program designed to provide library staff with a contemporary and relevant
skill-set to initiate and lead change to develop and deliver new initiatives.
Creation of a program to prepare staff for new challenges and opportunities, including
A project to develop a workforce plan to identify current and near-future skills required for
Production of a dynamic skills matrix for use as a tool for mapping current staff capabilities
and to assist with professional developmental planning for individual staff and teams.
The plan is assisting the Library to future proof its workforce and enable staff to engage
proactively in career development.
– Addressing skill shortages in the face of rapidly changing library services
– Developing new staff profiles
– Supporting new organizational structures delivering new services
– Reinventing staffing profiles in the face of budget constraints
– To be more strategic in staff development and IT integration
Skills librarians need for the future
1. Change management
– need to keep reviewing and renegotiating the
position of the library within the institution.
2. Proving value
– demonstrating a contribution to student success
build on the trusted library brand.
3. Influencing and negotiation
– being able to influence and negotiate within the
4. Creativity and innovation
– radical thinking is needed.
5. Supporting digital-based research
– Open access, data sharing, digital humanities,
text/data mining and using social media.
6. Digital literacy
– preparing students for a digital world.
– maximize access to digital and print content and
8. Digital Information management
– rights management, curation, preservation,
communication and dissemination of digital
9. Developing and managing space
– developing physical and virtual spaces to support
– supporting international research collaborations.
Source: Roisin Gwyer is University Librarian at the University of Portsmouth
Skills updating framework
Three core questions around an
1. What are the trends over the next “n” years
that are likely to impact library work?
2. What areas of service development do we
anticipate over the next “n” years?
3. What are the future capabilities required to
achieve these strategic and service
Many framework models exist!
Skills updating framework
Four main stages:
1. An analysis of the current workforce including
quantitative data, capabilities and skills, and
more contextual information for opportunities
for redeployment and human resource policies.
2. A process of identifying future needs through a
consultation process with stakeholders or just
an environmental scans.
3. Identification of gaps between future needs and
4. Formulation of plans for workforce
development to address gaps, ranging from
training programs to creation of new positions
Library tasks migration
– “"The ability to understand and use written
information in everyday life, at home, at
work and in the community to achieve
personal goals and to expand knowledge
and skills“ (OECD)
Resources based learning:
– Learning that “actively involves students in
the meaningful use of a wide range of
appropriate print, non-print, digital, and
– RBL focuses on the resources available to
the learners and how the learners interact
with these resources leading to an interest
in the uses of technology to support and
develop a learning environment
In general, library staff and management demonstrate a
positive approach to adopting advanced technologies, in
order to flourish in the new information landscape.
However, there is a gap between their willingness and
motivation to embrace technologies in theory and their ability
and openness to adapt to the necessary changes in their
workflows, services, and skills.
The gap is particularly evident when it comes to embracing AI
technology, which raises additional concerns regarding the
potential compromise of library core principles.