As part of my visit to Prague last week, I gave a presentation to the opening session of the InForum conference. This is an international meeting, albeit with a mainly Central European audience, covering all aspects of modern librarianship and information science. It was the first time I had attended; it is a very efficiently-run and interesting meeting, and deserves to be more widely known in the English-speaking world.
My talk was a fairly light-heated attempt at futurology, looking at three possible ways in which library and information science might develop: a ‘business as usual’ approach, with only incremental changes; a ‘changing landscapes’ future, with services changing their nature more dramatically; and a radical vision of information available ‘from the cloud’ accessible wirelessly anywhere, and with consequent disappearance of ‘information places’, such as libraries. Although I had tried to prime the audience with an early mention of Arthur C Clarke’s warnings of the failure of imagination and failure of nerve, and Niels Bohr’s caution that prediction is very difficult, particularly about the future, I was still pressed as to which of these three would come true. I settled for the second, with the caveat that I was probably wrong.
Sharp-eyed readers will notice that the presenter in the view of the conference hall is not me; it is, in fact, Marydee Ojala, speaking on multimedia retrieval.