Shifting IT directions – setting library free?

I had a very interesting discussion with a colleague today about where IT is heading. She indicated that following a period of centralisation and the move to shared services, we are seeing the beginnings of a shift to some decentralisation. She suggested that the motives of IT in this shift were not always honourable (libraries are too hard, too demanding, too informed, too expensive to support , a damned nuisance etc), but that nevertheless there are opportunities for libraries in this move.

All the good reasons for centralisation in a corporate environment (development of standard environments, reduction in costs, sharing of scarce and expensive expertise, economies of scale, single point of contact etc) can actively work against the ability of the library to provide the services it has a mandate to provide to its customers. It can certainly limit the ability of the library to experiment and ‘play’ with the emerging technologies to determine if and how they can be of benefit.

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