SA celebrated SA Library Week during the week of 18 March 2019. In the Cloud presented on how technology can be used to extend collaboration, during the LIASA Gauteng North event, hosted by the National Library of SA.

Governments and organisations all over the world are preparing for the changes brought along by the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). The 4IR builds on the previous Digital Revolution, introducing new ways in which technology becomes embedded within societies and even the human body. Technology of today is more and more blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres, and emerging breakthroughs include robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing and autonomous vehicles.

During her presentation, Ina Smith (Co-Director: In the Cloud & Project Manager: Academy of Science of South Africa/African Open Science Platform)  presented on how technology can be used to extend collaboration. Current and 4IR technologies focus on bridging barriers in terms of space, time and opportunities, to increase collaboration among stakeholders – among librarians, to be more effective and productive when collaborating, but also between librarians and users, to optimise service delivery regardless of time and space. All libraries are encouraged to build the 4IR into their strategic planning, and librarians are further encouraged to equip themselves with the necessary digital skills, to better service their users, and to take the lead, not falling behind their own users. In addition to exploring maker spaces, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and high-performance computing, librarians can already extend collaboration – in the spirit of the theme for SA Library Week – through using tools such as online seminars (webinars), document sharing (using Google tools), information and data sharing tools (repositories) and more. To conclude, “for South Africa to be competitive, it is important that it keeps up with the global trends in the provision of modern LIS that exploit all the benefits of ICTs. The LIS sector’s capacity to contribute to the nation’s ability to convert knowledge into innovations and wealth will determine its value to the nation.” (LIS Transformation Charter (2014)).

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