Blockchain technology may be the wave of the future in libraries, and Drs. Sue Alman and Sandra Hirsh of the San José State University School of Information want to help bring it to the forefront of professional discussion and implementation through a book in the American Library Association’s Library Futures series.
Simply titled Blockchain, much of what is covered in the book (slated to be published in spring 2019) was examined during the June Library 2.018 conference Blockchain Applied: Impact on the Information Profession, and a National Forum in early August, which was part of the $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to fund a year-long project exploring the potential of blockchain technology for information services.
For example, in libraries, blockchain may be used to build enhanced metadata systems and data centers, protect first sale rights, connect to a network of libraries/universities, support community-based collections, host digital peer-to-peer sharing, re-examine expectations for ways public libraries contribute to city service, and other possibilities.
The technology is gaining national attention with coverage in a Forbes magazine article, which listed Alman and Hirsh’s research as one of the 20 ways the technology “could be deployed by school districts, networks, postsecondary institutions and community-based organizations to improve learning opportunities.”
“Although Dr. Hirsh and I have published many books and articles, it's gratifying to know that our investigation of blockchain has made a national impact and brought the conversation from awareness of blockchain to proof-of-concept.
“One of the recommendations from the Blockchain National Forum is to develop curriculum to train information professionals and students about blockchain development and applications. The SJSU iSchool is on the forefront of the professional discussion and implementation of blockchain technologies,” Alman said.