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How Libraries Are Adapting to the Digital Age – RIC Conference

James P. Adams Library ad hoc organizing committee (from left): Brendan Ryan, Hedi BenAicha, Ellen Morais, Kieran Ayton and Kresten Jespersen.

James P. Adams Library ad hoc organizing committee (from left): Brendan Ryan, Hedi BenAicha, Ellen Morais, Kieran Ayton and Kresten Jespersen.

 

Now that the Internet has become the information resource of the Digital Age, many wonder if the use of the library will become a thing of the past.

“Digitization and its Impact” was the topic of an all-day conference held on May 31 at Rhode Island College.

Hedi BenAicha, organizer of the conference and director of the James P. Adams Library at RIC, said “the aim of the conference was to re-engineer the library’s role and relevance” in the Digital Age.

“As librarians and educators we have always been at the forefront,” he said. Forward-thinking librarians are actively experimenting with and incorporating these new technologies into their digital strategies, he said.

The president of Rhode Island College, Nancy Carriuolo, set the tone of the conference, opening with pre-taped, digital greetings to an audience of approximately 100 librarians from universities as diverse as Harvard, Tufts, Brown and Boston University. Participants also came from the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Digital Ark.

Eight different presenters – library personnel from Rhode Island College, the University of Rhode Island, Providence College, Boston College, Simmons College and Bryant University – spoke for 30 minutes each on a wide range of topics, from the use of EPUB file formats to the role of the conservator in maintaining digital preservation standards. Each talk was followed by a panel discussion.

Brendan Ryan, digital initiatives librarian at RIC, along with Kieran Ayton, emerging technologies librarian at RIC, discussed the use of ebooks for digital repositories. “I'm really interested in libraries collaborating with faculty to create course content and digital textbooks,” said Ryan. Ayton presented a number of apps that would enable users to read and store ebooks.

Twitter was also incorporated into the format of the conference, allowing participants to tweet their questions and comments. BenAicha reported a twitter feed of almost 200 over the course of the day. (Click twitter feed.)

Upon the conclusion of the conference, Howard Boksenbaum, chief library officer for the state of Rhode Island, said to BenAicha, “Great conference. . . . Looking forward to the next installment.” BenAicha already has plans for that. Until then, Adams Library at Rhode Island College will continue to build on best practices in an ever-evolving Digital Age.