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Thriving in the Unknown Digital Future

Thriving in the Unknown Digital Future

by Richard Huffine, SLA Board of Directors, Division Cabinet-Chair Elect

I am becoming future ready by pursuing new publishing models on behalf of my organization. I work for a Federal research organization with over 130 years of experience producing research to inform decision-makers. Our research has shaped policy and practice and the library has played an important role in supporting both the research and the dissemination of that research. Our library maintains the complete catalog of publications by our staff and we have converted more than half of our backlist catalog for on-line access. The future is digital, we know that but what will it mean to be digital in the future?

Do we want our research products listed in the Amazon Marketplace? Google’s ebookstore or Apple’s iBookstore? What does it mean to publish an ebook versus a traditional report? How do these new outlets (and their associated standards) change the way we prepare our research for dissemination and use by other researchers, students, and the general public?

The Library is the perfect place to be exploring these new publishing models and work with the institution to adapt to these new approaches to dissemination of information. Our library purchases ebooks, on-line journals, and database content. We are working with our users to figure out how Blackberries, iPhones, iPads and other tools will be used to consume information and to put data in the hands of our researchers in the field. Future Ready for me is about preparing my organization for the future and hopefully placing us ahead of the curve.

Richard Huffine is SLA’s Division Cabinet Chair-Elect. He is the National Library Coordinator at the U.S. Geological Survey.  He has been active in SLA since 2004 as the founding Chair of the Government Information Division.  He is also an active member of ALA, and is President-Elect of the District of Columbia Library Association.

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