Many of us have seen EPIC 2014, a futuristic vision of the information world in which mega-information companies are the new media conglomerates. This video struck a chord with the library profession because it is a wake-up call to a world in which libraries could be obsolete – or at least one vision of that possibility.
Now comes a new video called Prometeus: The Media Revolution. I really didn’t know what it would be, but I was interested in it because of a statement from it that “experience is the new reality”. I wanted to find out more about what that meant because we now find ourselves in the age of the user experience. Then I started seeing more statements about copyright, wikipedia, Second Life, media wars, Google buying Microsoft and…well it’s a futuristic vision all the way out to 2050. “Way out” may be a good way to describe this five minutes of animation.
EPIC. Prometeus. Both visions of future information worlds in which libraries and librarians do not seem to have a significant role in the gathering, organization and delivery of information. Both make provocative statements, and should give librarians something to think about. These are interesting visions of the future, but perhaps the preferred future is the one we can create by developing a strong sense of our profession and where we fit into the mix. It looks like there will be a number of conversations about this exact topic at the upcoming American Library Association conference. It’s a conversation we will need to continue, and who knows – maybe the next one of these futuristic videos will actually include a vision for future libraries. If not, perhaps it is up to us to create it.