The potential of blockchain technology for the information profession is being investigated with a $100,000 grant awarded to the San José State University School of Information from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
“It is time to examine the possible ways that libraries can support city/community goals through the use of blockchains while the implementation of the technology is still in the infancy stage,” said Dr. Sue Alman, an iSchool instructor who is serving as co-principal investigator with iSchool Director Dr. Sandra Hirsh.
Alman and Hirsh propose that blockchain technology can help libraries elevate and extend their services by developing a distributed, permission-less metadata archive; creating a protocol for supporting community-based collections; and facilitating better digital rights management.
Blockchain technology can simplistically be defined as a chain of blocks linked together, with each block containing a record of information to be widely and openly distributed.
Findings from the year-long project will be explored on a dedicated blog, as well as at a national forum to be held in mid-2018 with 20–30 technical experts in librarianship, blockchain technology, and urban planning. The iSchool’s Library 2.018 web conference, scheduled for June 7, 2018, will also bring information professionals from around the world together to share their research and experience on the impact of blockchain technology.
The research project will conclude in summer 2018, and the findings will be made available on the project website. If researches conclude that blockchain technology can indeed advance library services, recommendations for how to utilize the technology will be provided.
Visit https://ischoolblogs.sjsu.edu/blockchains/ for more information about the IMLS-funded Blockchain Technology research project.