Reduced budgets? Increased impact!

At the MMIT conference, delegates heard about the range of web tools and other technologies that can help deliver high impact services.

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MMIT - 'jam-packed'

The Multimedia Information and Technology (MMIT) conference attracted more than 50 delegates from various sectors of the library community.  With two keynote presentations, four workshops, five mini-presentations, a Q&A session and a tour of the University of Sheffield's Information Commons, the day was jam-packed with useful tips and information.

'A new cycle of transition'

Marshall Breeding, the Director for Innovative Technology and Research at Vanderbilt University, spoke about the 'Paradigm shift' of new automation platforms'.  He gave a fascinating insight into the future of library automation platforms and prepared us for the inevitable changes coming our way. The future for libraries is in adopting a new model for library automation with open APIs, flexible metadata management and with what Marshall referred to as 'knowledgebase architecture'. The library automation systems currently being developed will push forward cloud computing; open systems will become standard. These new systems are being produced by all big players in the market including OCLC, Ex Libras and Innovative Interfaces and with them come the 'beginning of a new cycle of transition'.

Breeding predicted that it could be a ten year cycle before these new innovations become standard in our libraries - but do we have that long?  Most current models for library automation systems are not sustainable.  The new model is producing library specific software 'designed to help automate library internal operations, manage collections, fulfil requests and deliver services'. These new models are starting to be released now, with other launch dates on the horizon over the next year.

'Anytime, anywhere'

Ross Mahon, the second keynote speaker, is an Apps Edu Evangelist at Google.  Unfortunately too unwell to attend the conference in person, Mahon gave a presentation via Google Hangouts from his sick bed not only delivering an interesting paper but also demonstrating the convenience of the Google application.  He introduced Google Apps for education and the potential added value it can provide to organisations. He discussed the need to develop innovation that can be applied to mobile devices and how this is behind Google's slogan 'Anytime, Anywhere'. Google's ventures in to education include applications such as Google Docs, Google Groups, Google Mail and Google Calendar all of which have been designed to enhance collaboration. Ross also spoke of the advantages of Chrome books and how they support the future of cloud computing through their direct connections with 'the cloud'. Library users are changing and the technology they use is changing with them, and the likes of Google are demonstrating how libraries can support their learning using new and exciting web tools.

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