NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Library Edition

The NMC Horizon Report > Library Edition examines the interactions between trends in the education and university sector and academic libraries. Moreover, it addresses the question as to how libraries can use and help shape social and technological developments.

On 23 March 2017, the third and latest edition of the NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Library Edition was published by the New Media Consortium (NMC) in cooperation with ETH Library, TIB Hannover and HTW Chur against the backdrop of the Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in Baltimore, Maryland. In the first 24 hours of the library report’s release, it garnered about 22 000 downloads.

NMC Horizon Report > Library Edition 2017

The results of the report are subdivided into trends, challenges and technological developments.

What trends does the latest edition NMC Horizon Report > Library Edition identify?

Timescale of five years and more

  • Cross-institutional collaboration
  • Constant refinement of academic forms of communication and publication

Timescale of three to five years

  • Customers as producers
  • Redesigning of library rooms

Timescale of one to two years

  • Continued focus on research data management
  • Strengthening of the products’ customer-oriented design, including user experience

Challenges identified for academic libraries

Surmountable challenges

  • Further improvement of access to library resources and services
  • Improvement of library customer skills in the digital sector

Difficult challenges

  • Adaptation of the organisation of libraries to the future of their work
  • Ongoing integration, interoperability and cooperative projects

Complex challenges where the solutions are completely unknown

  • Academic and political pressure
  • The necessity for radical change due to technological and social upheavals

Technical developments in the years ahead

Finally, the NMC Horizon Report > Library Edition also presents technological developments in the context of trends and challenges. The 2017 edition examines the following topics:

Timescale of one year

  • Use of big data technologies for improved customer orientation in the library services
  • Use of digital scholarship technologies

Timescale of two to three years

  • Library services platform
  • Online authentication

Timescale of four to five years

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Internet of Things

Methods of the NMC Horizon Report > Library Edition

The NMC Horizon Report > Library Edition is based on the Delphi method. Chaired by the NMC, an international panel of experts discusses key topics and developments over a period of three months. The most important topics and developments are then identified in a multi-step procedure.

New features of the third edition

On the one hand, the contents of the report identified and the composition of the expert committee are new, of course. For the first time, however, the report also includes an overview of recurrent and completely new themes.


Overview of the trends in the three editions of the NMC Horizon Report > Library Edition

The report now also contains broad categories of trends, challenges and technological developments. For instance, these “metacategories” include innovation promotion or the improvement of digital skills.

Moreover, it is particularly worth noting that topics with a high score that did not quite make it into the report are also listed.



Semi-Finalists NMC Horizon Report > Library Edition 2017

Thanks to this element, the report makes its own methods more transparent than in previous years and shows that the topics in the NMC Horizon Report > Library Edition are just a snippet of the preceding discussion process.

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DOI Link: 10.16911/ethz-ib-2807-en