David Nicholas came to talk to a group of @30 NetIKX members at the h.q. of the British Dental Association in Wimpole Street. David runs CIBER a pan-European research outfit : http//ciber-research.eu He spoke about ‘The second digital transition’ which means that there will be no librarians (as we know them) by 2022. ‘The first digital revolution’ brought librarianship to its knees. This one will finish it off. It is ‘the end of culture as we know it’. ‘The first digital revolution’ took place in the office or in the library. The device – the pc – was desk bound, office bound. ‘The second digital revolution’ is taking place in the street. Mobile is now the main platform for accessing the web. Mobile means meeting information needs at the time of need. Mobiles provide access to masses of information for everyone. Smartphones and social media stride major information worlds, informal and formal.Mobiles empower digital consumer purchasing. Mobiles are fast. Mobiles are smaller devices with small screens. They are not computational devices but access devices. Mobiles are social, personal, cool and popular.
Here are the basic characteristics of digital information seeking behaviour: ‘hyperactive’ – users love choice and looking; ‘bouncers’ – 1-2 pages from thousands; ‘promiscuous’ – about 40% don’t come back; ‘one slots’ – one visit, one page. Why is this ? Because of search engine lists/massive and changing choice/so much rubbish out there/poor retrieval skills (2.2 words per query)/multi-tasking (more pleasurable doing several things at once)/end user checking, so no memories in cyberspace and very high ‘churn rate’. The horizontal has replaced the vertical, reading is ‘out’ fast ‘media’ is in. Information seeking wise ‘skitter’ – power browse. Consequences ? Abstracts have never been so popular/scholars go online to avoid reading, prefer visual/few minutes per visit; 15 minutes is a long time/ shorter articles have a much bigger chance of being used.
Europeana mobile use : http://www.europeana.eu/ 130,000 unique mobile users accessed Europeana in last six months. Characteristics : ‘information light’, visits from mobiles much less interactive, few records, searches, less time on a visit/differences between devices (iPhone – abbreviated behaviour on part of searchers; iPad – behaviour conforms to that of pc users)/mobile use peaks at nights and weekends (desk tops peak on Wednesday and late afternoons)/searching and reading has moved into the social space. We could not have come further from the initial concept of libraries : no walls, no queuing, no intermediaries! Ask any young person about a library and they will point to their mobile. It is ironic that mobiles were once banned from libraries – now it is the library. The mobile, borderless information environment really challenges libraries and publishers. It constitutes another massive round of disintermediation and migration. The changed platform and environment transforms information consumption. Final reflection : Is the web and the mobile device making us stupid ? Where are we going with information, learning and mobile devices ?