With the emergence of numerous forms of information in the digital click environment of the 21st century, the role of physical libraries has changed over the last few years. This has further reflected changes in the nature of education. The importance of group collaboration, group work, information technology and communication in teaching and learning has been recognized and the central role of the library as a repository of facts and information is changing with m-libraries.
Libraries have always been timely adopters of new technologies, and librarians have been at the forefront in learning and teaching new technologies and, in the present world, the mobile technologies. Today, on the same lines, librarians are thinking for the foreseeable future about the virtual world. The emerging technologies in libraries are moving towards mobile computing, cloud computing, discovery solutions, open content, simple augmented reality, gesture-based computing, visual data analysis and, most significant of all, electronic content. Social networks, with their unstructured data, have made library work more challenging and innovative and these are being widely used through mobile devices. But since the introduction of semantic web into libraries, they are now getting structured data and making sense of the chaotic digital world. Open-source solutions have matured, bringing new possibilities of data in m-libraries around the world. Virtual collections are also impacting future services and are going through a significant change by the increasing convergence among traditionally different types of libraries in the services they offer.
Brick to click
Libraries have already marked their presence across the ‘social web’. They have been both witness and part of the movement of ‘brick-toclick’ with the social web, whether in technical work like search engine optimization or general social media engagement with aspects of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Libraries have been leveraging social media and cross-media marketing campaigns to help their clientele move from bricks to clicks. In the mobile age they have been providing IT-based solutions for the productive and highly skilled library user-based services. Present-day libraries are extensively designing, developing and deploying web solutions and multi-tiered applications which can be accessed from various platforms, including mobile devices. The libraries of today are connected with quality reference and online library services operational 24/7.