Assessing the Impact of Cloud Computing and Web Collaboration on the Work of Distance Library Services

Web collaboration and cloud computing have become commonplace in many aspects of academic life. Students skype to discuss research and create Google Documents to manage group work on a weekly basis each semester. The web has redefined the way that scholars work together.

While this change has reached scholars quickly, it has not yet completely crossed into the library environment. There is no lack of knowledge or skills, however, libraries with older staff may find new technologies and integration of those technologies challenging. The trouble mostly arises around issues surrounding intellectual property rights, the role and prominence of the library/librarian, and the ability to connect users with reliable, useful sources.

So what does the future hold for web collaboration and cloud computing? As previously mentioned, the two technologies are frequently used by scholars, and were pioneered in the business and infotech world. Faculty and students are often used to using them for social outlets as well as academic needs. But librarians offer an authority on research and research technologies. Adding such services to library offerings cannot be taken lightly, even if the platforms are widely used.

The services might harvest information and could take credit away from the user or institution based on service agreements. And libraries might further lose their presence if students, especially those in distance learning settings, see the library as merely an entrance to other electronic media hosted and branded by different companies.

The answer to many of these issues could be found in redefining the role of the librarian. Librarians need training in all platforms offered by the library and must be able to facilitate their use for academic needs – above and beyond the call for their use to discover innovative ways to keep the library relevant as more of its services are offered miles away from the building itself.

Title: Assessing the Impact of Cloud Computing and Web Collaboration on the Work of Distance Library Services
Page Count: 19
Type of reading: Literature Review/Academic Research
Worth: ***
Why: The writing assumes various levels of technological literacy that do not always agree from section to section, but the material is valuable to concerned members of the library community
Reference: Scale, M. E. (2010). Assessing the Impact of Cloud Computing and Web Collaboration on the Work of Distance Library Services.  Journal Of Library Administration, 50(7/8), 933-950.
Reviewed By: Emily Mross

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