New technologies through the IFLA 2019 Athens lens – what trended!

Publication Date21 Nov 2019
AuthorAdetoun A. Oyelude
SubjectLibrary & information science
New technologies through the IFLA 2019 Athens
lens – what trended!
Adetoun A. Oyelude
The annual conference of the
International Federation of Library
Association and Institutions (IFLA) is a
conference that brings together librarians,
information specialists, publishers, book
vendors, technologists, new technology
vendors, architects and anybody involved
with the information industry. The 2019
conference, held in the ancient city of
Athens, Greece from August 24 to 30,
was no exception in receiving diverse
professionals from all over the world.
This column focuses on the new and
emerging technologies that were featured
at the conference. Amid the pomp and
pageantry of the Greek librarians’
provision of hospitality and conference
facilities, over 3,500 participants had a
chance to walk through many of the latest
trends in library and information services
and technologies. People talked about
new technologies, digital training,
emerging technologies, the 4th industrial
revolution, publishing (Open Access and
converse) and technology training among
many other topics. The lightning talks,
library visits, tours and exhibition of the
technologies by 132 exhibitors certainly
Digital technology:OneoftheIFLA
aims is to bring together divided
collections. This it is doing in its cultural
heritage collections project. “Preserving,
maintaining, and giving access to heritage
represents a key pillar of the work of
libraries worldwide. With the new IFLA
Strategy, there is a strong commitment to
building IFLA’s work in enhancing
professional practice, building connections,
and ensuring effective advocacy at all levels
strongly believes that the full richness of
these divided collections can often only
fully be appreciated when they are brought
together. Digital access makes it possible to
bring together collections and letting
citizens and researchers anywhere and
everywhere, see the works. “There is now a
growing body of experience in such ‘digital
unification’ projects. new guidelines on
setting up digital unification projects draws
on this in order to offer a checklist of issues
to take into account when preparing,
delivering, and finalizing an initiative” (See
more at:
92435 for cultural heritage work of IFLA).
Publishing: “Plan S is an initiative
for Open Access publishing that was
launched in September 2018. The plan
is supported by cOAlitionS, an
international consortium of European
research funders”. “Plan S requires that
scientific publications that result from
research funded by public grants, must
be published in compliant Open Access
journals or platforms beginning in
2021,” (www.coalition-s). This formed
the basis of the presentation by Marga
Koelen at the Hot Topics Session
organized by the Academic and
Research Libraries Section of IFLA at
the conference. Plan S was explained as
not just as a publication fee model of
Open Access publishing but as a
platform whereby cOAlitionS supports
a diversity of sustainability models for
Open Access journals and platforms and
putting more emphasis on changing the
research reward and incentive system.
Questions discussed on Plan S at the
session bordered on the following:
Should Plan S be a revolution or is
better as an evolution? How can the
shift to Gold Open Access and
associated APC’s be managed equitable
to protect the positions both of
unfunded researchers and researchers in
less developed countries? The fact that
Plan S is not yet embraced worldwide
remains a problem. A country
complying with Plan S could become
less attractive for researchers;
researchers will move to countries
where plan S is not an issue and
Researchers will be forced to publish
their important research in insignificant
The Hot Topic “Open Access in the
German National Library of Medicine”
presented by Ursula Arning centered on
the services provided, Open Access
(Green and Gold) via their repository.
After the 3 min poser, discussion
continued along the following lines: Is
providing publishing services a goal for
academic libraries? Should each library
provide its own publication infrastructure?
What are the advantages/disadvantages of
these kinds of challenges? Does publishing
in libraries contribute to the task of
facilitating the access to information?
Related to this was “The 4th industrial
revolution (4IR) and Future-Ready
African librarians” topic presented by
Nkem Osuigwe of the African Library &
Information Associations and Institutions
(AfliA). The 3-min poser reiterated the
fact that at the core of 4IR is the need for
building quality intellectual capital that
would equip more people with learning,
ideas and abilities for innovation. It also
emphasized the efforts of future-ready
African librarians to understand Open
Education Resource (OER) models, in an
effort to be able to assist institutions in
implementing the models and develop
capacity to curate, design and develop
suitable taxonomies for accessing and
tagging OER materials.
Professional development
At IFLAA, what trends focused on
professional development? A number of
exciting announcements were introduced
throughout the week of the IFLA
conference. The launch of IFLA’s
transformative new Strategy (www.ifla.
org/node/92409) and the introduction of
major new features to the Global Vision
Ideas Store (
were examples. IFLA has carved out
their strategy for the next five years in
the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024 document.
This document was announced and
discussed at the conference. Four main
LIBRARY HITECH NEWS Number 1 2020, pp. 9-10, V
CEmerald Publishing Limited, 0741-9058, DOI 10.1108/LHTN-09-2019-0066 9

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