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Disconnects Between Library Culture and Millennial Generation Values

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Disconnects Between Library Culture and Millennial Generation Values
Libraries must consider changes in both policy and technology to remain relevant to the next generation of students
By Robert H. McDonald and Chuck Thomas

"Technology Disconnects

Some of the key technology disconnects between libraries and current online communities include:

* Libraries lack tools to support the creation of new-model digital scholarship and to enable the use of Web services frameworks to support information reformatting (for example, RSS) and point-of-need Web-based assistance (multimedia tutorials or instant messaging assistance).
* Dogmatic library protection of privacy inhibits library support for file-sharing, work-sharing, and online trust-based transactions that are increasingly common in online environments, thus limiting seamless integration of Web-based services.
* Ubiquitous handheld access is more prominent thanks to digital lifestyle devices such as smart phones and iPods, yet libraries still focus on digital content for typical desktop PCs.

These stereotypes obviously do not describe every situation. Nonetheless, they indicate the areas in many research libraries that typically need attention.
Policy Disconnects

Drawing a clear line between technology and policy can be difficult. For example, how many of the characteristics of current libraries (identified by the list below) are driven purely by technology or by policy? These traits include:

* Mainly electronic text-based collections with multimedia content noticeably absent
* Constructed for individual use but requires users to learn from experts how to access and use information and services
* Library presence usually "outside" the main online place for student activity (MySpace, iTunes, Facebook, the campus portal, or learning management system)

Damned Millenials again...what are we going to do about them?

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