Monday, June 12, 2006

Portable Convergence

A patron asked me if it was hard to keep up on the latest computer technology. I try to spend an hour each day on current awareness; professional journals, e-mail newsletters, blogs, podcasts, etc. But I also look at the Sunday paper's sales fliers from Target, Best Buy, and Circuit City. These help me stay current on the most popular gadgets, such as cell phones with cameras that play music files and car radios that play CDs, satellite radio and different types of downloadable audio files. What I get from this is that people want their toys to do lots of things. No matter what format it's in, they want their gadget to be able to deal with it. They also want to take it with them. It's portable convergence.

People are expecting the same from their libraries. Yes, they want the dead tree book but they also want it on a CD and as an mp3 file. And they want to be able to get it from home. The new downloadable audio books from Overdrive are part of this. We're giving them the library where they want it and how they want it. Commercial businesses will always be ahead of libraries in developing applications for these technologies. But by watching them we can get a good idea of the services we should be providing if we don't want them to get their stuff somewhere else.


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