NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Library Edition

The New Media Consortium (NMC), University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB), ETH Library, and ACRL are jointly releasing the NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Library Edition at the ACRL 2017 Conference. This is the third edition of the NMC Horizon Report that explores the realm of academic and research libraries in a global context.

This report describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, a 15-year-old ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies poised to influence learning, teaching, and creative inquiry. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology are placed directly in the context of their likely impact on the core missions of academic and research libraries. The topics are summarized in the accompanying infographic.

Top 10 “Sound Bites” from the Report

 1. Each topic is placed into one or more of six meta-categories that reflect movements in academic and research libraries: 1) Expanding Access and Convenience; 2) Spurring Innovation; 3) Fostering Authentic Learning and Discovery; 4) Balancing Societal Shifts; 5) Tracking Research and Patron Data; and 6) Spreading Digital Fluency.

2. The Introduction looks back at the topic sets for the past three library-focused editions of the NMC Horizon Report. Over time, the Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record and Research Data Management have been the most pervasive trends, Embracing the Need for Radical Change the most targeted challenge, and the Internet of Things the most enduring technology development.

3. The topics in the report were selected by a diverse panel of 75 experts. Library leaders, librarians, technologists, industry leaders, and other key stakeholders from 14 countries comprise this year’s expert panel. They engaged in a three-month virtual discussion to share how the trends, challenges, and technologies are materializing in their environments.

4. The Executive Summary presents 10 highlights capturing the big picture themes of educational change that underpin the 18 topics. Among the themes are the notions that better catering to patrons’ needs requires user-centric design and a focus on accessibility and that advancing innovation necessitates the reimagining of organizational structures.

5. Semi-finalists — topics from the cutting room floor that almost made the report — are listed. The shift away from books, marketing library services, mixed reality, and more were all heavily considered by the expert panel. They could make a comeback in the next edition!

6. The report illuminates examples of compelling trends, solutions, and technology initiatives in practice at academic and research libraries. Leaders seeking inspiration, models, and tactical insight around strategy and technology deployment can look to these exemplars from across the world.

7. Three new challenges to the NMC Horizon Project were proposed by the panel and voted into the report. They are: 1) Accessibility of Library Services and Resources; 2) Adapting Organizational Designs to the Future of Work; and 3) Economic and Political Pressures. The expert panel’s inclusion of these topics signals a need to look outward — to deeply consider major societal shifts.

8. Big Data and Digital Scholarship Technologies are both considered on the “near-term horizon” for widespread adoption. The former topic reflects the desire to track and analyze the data generated via online resources and services to better meet patron needs. The latter refers to the suite of digital and computational tools used to advance scholarship as libraries continuously integrate new emerging technologies.

9. Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are poised to amplify the utility and reach of library services. These developments on the “far-term horizon” can personalize the library experience for patrons, connecting them more efficiently to resources that best align with their goals.

10. The inclusion of topics such as Patrons as Creators and Improving Digital Literacy shed light on library professionals’ roles as deeper learning guides. Libraries are well-positioned to lead efforts that develop patrons’ digital citizenship and content creation skills, ensuring mastery of responsible and creative technology use.

The NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Library Edition is published under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.