Trends and Activities
As part of our ‘Future of Resources’ session at Talis Insight 2022, we looked at the creation of resources and how this might be impacted in the next 10 years as a result of world, technology and sector trends.
We defined creation as: ‘the generation of resources e.g. literature, music, software in whatever format, print or digital for consumption whether paid for or free’.
Read on to find out what our discussion groups came up with:
Artificial Intelligence and Augmented reality (AI and AR)
When discussing the future, the subject of AI and AR came up a lot, with much going on across the Higher Education landscape in terms of the drive to improve the student experience. The impact of this on the library sector provoked interesting discussions around the creation of different formats for content; with AR replacing physical artefacts and we discussed the librarians’ role in delivering these new and varying formats.
The Talis team spoke about ‘algorithmically generated resources’ and the impact on student learning. Concern was expressed around the ‘dumbing down’ of content, e.g. resources generated based on rigid rules and data (auto-content) and producing formulaic results. The role of the librarian was seen as central here, in terms of academic skills and the importance of discernment and evaluation when students are selecting resources.
Bias and New Creators
With the sources of content expanding and becoming more varied, the topic of bias came up a lot, which again led to much discussion around the importance of the role of the librarian, particularly around academic skills and evaluation. There was concern that the data used for generating resources using AI could proliferate bias.
The ‘Big Four’ entered the discussion (Google, Amazon, Apple, and Meta) with ethical questions posed around the generation of content and the recommendation of resources, and whether this content could be generated without bias. Plus, the importance of recognising and understanding provenance with regard to new resource creators entering the market.
New formats, as a result of emerging technologies and amplified by the pandemic with an increase in hybrid and hyflex teaching were discussed. Skills, technology and capacity for managing new formats, e.g. podcasts and YouTube videos were seen as factors in current university library provision.
Student Created Content and Crowdsourcing
We asked, with new technologies and social communication making crowdsourcing easier to do, could this help in the creation of more neutral resources or resources that are richer? It might encourage inquiry and inquisitiveness from students, but would it go further than this and create a more ethical approach to content creation? Student led creation through a learning event was suggested – an assessed module with an output of learning materials.
Bite-sized Content and Micro-credentials
The advent of micro-credentials as a delivery method to meet specific student was discussed:
How is the creation of resources changing to support this? Is the traditional textbook format outdated to meet this provision? Should there be another, different format that meets this need better – if so what is it? Should resources be ‘disaggregated’ to fit better into this new way of learning? Would the renting of resources down to chapter level be more appropriate and if so, more than ever, will contract management be a core skill for librarians?
Open Access (OA) and Open Educational Resources (OER)
Open Access and Open Educational Resources came up a lot – the suggestion being these could be a solution to some of the problems around resource creation. The challenges around Open Access with publisher models and ‘double-dipping’ where you pay to publish and pay to access suggested that these aren’t without their challenges.
In terms of Open Education Resources, questions were asked around incentives for academics and what the recognition is, and also with lots of hourly paid and temporary lecturers there is not much time for developing new resources. There was a suggestion that there should be more global and cross institution collaboration around OA and OER.
The conclusions drawn from the session were:
- There are lots of challenges and considerations when it comes to content creation over the next 10 years
- Far from decreasing in importance, the librarian’s role will be even more relevant.
We would love to hear from you! If you have any areas of best practice or projects relating to the future of resources, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be delighted to host a webinar with you.