Co-authored by Judy Luther and Todd Carpenter for Scholarly Kitchen “Failure to Deliver: Reaching Users in an Increasingly Mobile World” starts by stressing how “technology is changing how users access content in a world increasingly on the move, yet delivery of content acquired by libraries is optimized for the user who is physically on campus.”
They then proceed to ask some pointed questions like:
- What about the students or researchers who live, study, travel and work off campus?
- What percent of the patron base does that make up?
- What are the content service failures that develop as a result?
- How much are these failures costing libraries and publishers?
Citing numerous studies, Luther and Carpenter refine these questions and begin to answer them concluding that today’s library networks “optimized for the user who is physically on campus” often leave today’s mobile user unserved and frustrated. They note that the “seamless on-campus experience” breaks down for students that “are off the campus network and trying to directly reach content.” Adding to the problem is a world that is increasingly reliant on the use of cloud services. They argue that in such a world “tethering users to a particular network to get their work done is increasingly anachronistic.”
Luther and Carpenter also address concerns that increasing and improving access will mean that “other values are set aside.” Offering examples, they insist that new technologies will enable libraries to provide values like security and privacy, and do so simultaneously.
Obviously this is a post that focuses on a complex, and some might say, controversial issue. Admittedly, this is a very brief and incomplete abstract. The full article is far more detailed and nuanced. Needless to say, we encourage you to read it. It’s well worth the time and effort.
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.