Welcome ACRL 2017 attendees!

Sources referenced in the Accessibility on the Horizon:  The NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Library Edition session, along with some related resources, are listed here.

Presentation slides are available here: Slides (PDF) for Accessibility on the Horizon:  The NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Library Edition and Slides (PPT) for Accessibility on the Horizon: The NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Library Edition. If the presentation file is not accessible to you, please contact us so we can get it to you in a format that is.

Session Q&A and related thoughts can be found in this Google Doc and via the Twitter hashtag #ACRL2017Horizon.

Thanks for visiting!

The NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition

NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition (NMC member-only access until March 23, 2017)
“What is on the five-year horizon for academic and research libraries? Which trends and technology developments will drive transformation? What are the critical challenges and how can we strategize solutions? These questions regarding technology adoption and educational change steered the discussions of 77 experts to produce the NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition, in partnership with the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB), ETH Library, and the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six developments in technology profiled in this report are poised to impact library strategies, operations, and services with regards to learning, creative inquiry, research, and information management. The three sections of this report constitute a reference and technology planning guide for librarians, library leaders, library staff, policymakers, and technologists. View the work that produced the report on the project wiki.”

Important Developments in Educational Technology in Academic and Research Libraries

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

Big Data

Big Data Analysis in Higher Education: Promises and Pitfalls

“The grand challenge in data-intensive research and analysis in higher education is to find the means to extract knowledge from the extremely rich data sets being generated today and to distill this into usable information for students, instructors, and the public.”

The Colleges Are Watching

“All that data requires a high degree of training and security, because universities have “data points on a student encompassing almost every single aspect of that student’s life in a way that no one else does,” said Brenda Leong, a senior counsel and director of operations at the Future of Privacy Forum. Beyond the abuses of power that are potential hazards with the use of predictive analytics, there’s also the difficulty of ensuring a student’s privacy.”

Exposing library data with big data technology: A review

“Libraries play an important role at the intersections of government, universities, research institutes, and the public since they are storing and managing digital assets. The large amount of data and those data in library need to be transformed into information or knowledge which then be used by researchers or users. Librarians might need to understand how to transform, analyze, and present data in order to facilitate knowledge creation. For example, they should know how to make big datasets more useful, visible and accessible. With new and powerful analytics of big data, such as information visualization tools, researchers/users can look at data in new ways and mine it for information they intend to have.”

Big data examples and projects:

Digital Scholarship

The University Library as Incubator for Digital Scholarship

“Libraries have always been in the business of knowledge creation and transfer, and the digital scholarship incubator within the library can serve as a natural extension of this essential function. In an age of visualization, analytics, big data, and new forms of online publishing, these central spaces can facilitate knowledge creation and transfer by connecting people, data, and technology in a shared collaborative space.”

Digital Scholarship Resources and Projects:

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

Library Services Platforms

Library Services Platforms: A Maturing Genre of Products (PDF)

“The genre of library services platforms helps libraries manage their collection materials and automate many aspects of their operations by addressing a wider range of resources. They take advantage of current technology architectures compared to the integrated library systems that have previously dominated. This seminal category of library technology products has gained momentum in recent years and is positioned to reshape how libraries acquire, manage, and provide access to their collections as they go forward into the next decade. This issue of Library Technology Reports explores this new category of library software, including its functional and technical characteristics. The issues covered include

  • differences with integrated library systems, which remain viable for many libraries and continue to see development along their own trajectory;
  • an up-to-date assessment of library services platforms, ranging from those that have well-established track records to those that remain under development;
  • the relationship between library services platforms and discovery services;
  • a general overview of major products, discussing their high-level organization of functionality, and adoption patterns relative to size and types;
  • a look at libraries that have implemented platforms and how these libraries perceive their performance.”

The Future of Library Systems: Library Services Platforms (PDF)

“The primary difference between the traditional ILS offerings and the new library services platform is that the ILS products were largely designed around the management of print collections. As libraries have moved increasingly to accommodate digital collections, they’ve found the ILS products unable to be reconfigured well enough to smoothly and efficiently handle the integration of all the workflows that are different, yet necessary, for both print and digital. In addition, the older ILS do not take advantage of the latest offerings in computing technologies and architectures, particularly in the area of cloud computing” (Grant, 2012, p. 5).

SirsiDynix Enterprise

“From themes and pages to collections and search settings, your library can customize nearly every part of the SirsiDynix Enterprise discovery tool. Gather all your resources together in your own unique catalog, and create the ideal search experience for your users. ”


“A community collaboration to develop an open source Library Services Platform (LSP) designed for innovation.”

Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities

“Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities invites us all to aim our collective might at creating a world that works for everyone. We pledged $20 million in grants to 29 nonprofits using technology to take on a wide range of accessibility challenges all over the world, from making more books available to people with visual impairments to creating 3D-printed prosthetics.”

Rethinking the Library Services Platform (PDF)

There remains “a very significant lack of interoperability between the various components that make up the library technology ‘ecosystem’. As libraries struggle with the need to manage a diverse and growing range of print and digital materials, so the library systems environment gets increasingly complex” (Chad, 2016, p. 3).

Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines

“The Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0 provides guidelines for designing web content authoring tools that are both more accessible to authors with disabilities (Part A) and designed to enable, support, and promote the production of more accessible web content by all authors (Part B). See Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) Overview for an introduction and links to ATAG technical and educational material.”

Online Identity

NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Higher Education Edition

The report classifies online identity as a social media technology, noting that, “as well-established as social media is, it continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with new ideas, tools, and developments coming online constantly.” Online identity is also mentioned in conjunction with digital fluency, about which the report says the following: “Fluency in the digital realm is more than just understanding how to use technology. Training must go beyond gaining isolated technology skills toward generating a deep understanding of digital environments, enabling intuitive adaptation to to new contexts and co-creation of content with others.”

Applying Universal Design for Learning in Online Courses: Pedagogical and Practical Considerations (PDF)

“Inclusion of the universal design for learning (UDL) model as a guiding set of principles for online curriculum development in higher education is discussed. Fundamentally, UDL provides the student with multiple means of accessing the course based on three overarching principles: presentation; action and expression; and engagement and interaction. Guidelines are also provided for incorporating UDL into an online curriculum for teaching both general and diverse populations including students with disabilities.”


“ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized.”

Who’s Who in Distance Education: Authentication and Academic Integrity (PDF)

“College Opportunity and Affordability Act (KR. 4137), which was passed by the Committee on Education and Labor in the U.S. House of Representatives on November 15, 2007, corresponds with a bill passed by the U.S. Senate (S. 1642) in July 2007. Both pieces of legislation contain verbiage directing accreditation agencies to ‘require an institution that offers distance education to have processes through which the institution establishes that the student who registers in a distance education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the program and receives the academic credit’ (H.R. 4137, 110th Congress, 2007)” (Adams, 2012).

Online Learner Authentication: Verifying the Identities of Online Users

“Academic institutions involved in end user authentication projects are hopeful that the success of these projects will increasingly contribute to the credibility of an institution’s online delivery options by adding yet another step toward identity verification of online students situated throughout the world” (Bailie & Jortberg, 2009).

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science)

“Artificial intelligence is the design, implementation, and use of programs, machines, and systems that exhibit human intelligence, with its most important activities being knowledge representation, reasoning, and learning. Artificial intelligence encompasses a number of important subareas, including voice recognition, image identification, natural language processing, expert systems, neural networks, planning, robotics, and intelligent agents. Several important programming techniques have been enhanced by artificial intelligence researchers, including classical search, probabilistic search, and logic programming.”

Semantic Scholar

From the Library Report: “Semantic Scholar, an academic search engine launched in 2016, provides insight into research applications. In contrast to similar programs, which simply highlight key information at the top of search fields, Semantic Scholar leverages data mining and natural language processors to compare thousands of articles with the capacity to make judgments about which studies better align with a researcher’s needs. Equipped with sophisticated abilities to draw conclusions about the methods, citations, and relevant data within each article, this artificially intelligent search engine contains over ten million studies that have been vetted to include only those meeting highest quality standards.”

Robot Librarian Designed By Aberystwyth University Students (Times Higher Education)

“‘Hugh’, an artificially intelligent library catalogue, will be able to take verbal book requests, work out where the hard copy is and lead students to the relevant bookshelf.”

Towards a Lip-Reading Computer (BBC)

“Scientists at Oxford say they’ve invented an artificial intelligence system that can lip-read better than humans. The system, which has been trained on thousands of hours of BBC News programmes, has been developed in collaboration with Google’s DeepMind AI division.”

How AI Will Transform Education in 2017 (VentureBeat)

“We will see several applications of AI in education in 2017, such as:

  • AI for grading students’ written answers
  • Bots that answer students’ questions
  • Virtual personal assistants that tutor students
  • Virtual reality and computer vision for immersive, hands-on learning
  • Simulations and gamification with rich learning analytics”

7 Things You Should Know About Personalized Learning | EDUCAUSE.edu
“Personalized learning provides a unique, highly focused learning path for each student. Individual attention from instructors isn’t feasible in traditional educational models with large numbers of students, and personalized learning is intended to use IT systems and tools to tailor learning experiences based on student strengths, weaknesses, and pace of learning. Technologies including analytics, adaptive learning, digital courseware, and others underlie personalized learning, which builds a “profile” of each student and makes continual adjustments to learning paths based on student performance. It also provides information to help instructors better target their teaching to individual students.”

The Internet of Things

7 Things You Should Know About the Internet of Things | EDUCAUSE.edu
“The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a state in which vast numbers of objects are interconnected over the Internet and can collect data and transmit and receive information. The IoT is made possible by low-voltage, low-cost components and sensors that can be added to appliances, streetlights, doorways, desks, cars, e-textbooks, and other objects, all of which send data to a managing application. By interconnecting all kinds of objects and systems, the IoT could open new avenues of research and learning. The increasingly connected network of devices and data streams could coordinate campus physical spaces, integrating information from sensors embedded in objects including library resources, whiteboard writing surfaces, game boards, and robots.”

Keeping Up With… Beacons | Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
A Bluetooth beacon can notify nearby Bluetooth devices, such as smartphones and tablets, of its presence and transmit information─for example, a pop-up notification of information relevant to the area in which the beacon is located.

The Internet of Things Means a More Accessible World

“While the Internet of Things offers great benefits to all, people with disabilities stand to benefit considerably from connected technologies. The technology used to build smarter cities and smarter homes can help create a more accessible environment for people with disabilities and offer them the opportunity to live more independently.”

Internet of Things: New Promises for Persons with Disabilities
“Recent developments in both networks and devices are enabling a much greater range of connected devices and Internet of Things (IoT) functionalities. This paper explores the impact of the IoT on persons with disabilities.”

An inclusive Internet of things: accessibility in the palm of your hand » Simply Accessible
“In the physical world, it is nearly impossible to make a fixed object accessible to everyone. In the connected world of the Internet of Things, digital brings us accessibility where the physical can’t.”

The Digital Divide

Two questions guided our examination of these six technologies: what is the technology’s potential to enhance accessibility and learning for students with disabilities, and what is the technology’s potential to diminish accessibility and learning for students with disabilities? Many technologies, including the Internet of Things, have the potential to diminish accessibility because of a digital divide between those who have the technologies and those who don’t. The following resources address The Digital Divide.

7 Things You Should Read About Digital Divides and Today’s Technologies | EDUCAUSE.edu
“The penetration of information technology into all corners of life created a digital divide between those who had those technologies and those who didn’t. As technology ownership has broadened, the divides have morphed but not disappeared, a dynamic seen in many higher education settings. As learning environments in higher education increasingly use and depend on an expanding array of technologies, colleges and universities should pay close attention to how those developments can present new obstacles to some learners.”

Digital Divide | Pew Research Center
Reports and data from the Pew Research Center.

Disability in the Digital Age
“Individuals who identified a disability use the internet at lower rates than those who did not report disabilities… By delving deeper into the demographic data, we now present a more detailed look at adults living with disabilities and their interplay with the internet.”

Americans living with disability and their technology profile | Pew Research Center
Findings from a 2010 Pew Research Center survey indicate that “Americans living with a disability are less likely than other adults to use the internet” and “once they are online, are also less likely than other internet users to have high-speed access or wireless access.”

Accessibility and Universal Design

AHEAD: Association on Higher Education and Disability

“AHEAD is the premiere professional association committed to full participation of persons with disabilities in postsecondary education.”

A Personal Look at Accessibility in Higher Education

This video highlights the experiences of students and faculty with disabilities in higher education.


“CAST is a nonprofit education research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning.” Universal design for learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. Watch the UDL At A Glance video below to get an overview of UDL, and access UDL resources on the CAST website.

DO-IT Center: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology at the University of Washington

“The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities through technology and education. It promotes awareness and accessibility—in both the classroom and the workplace—to maximize the potential of individuals with disabilities and make our communities more vibrant, diverse, and inclusive.”

Equal Access: Universal Design of Libraries

This resource from the DO-IT Center offers “a checklist for making libraries welcoming, accessible, and usable.”

National Center on Disability and Access to Education

“The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) exists to address issues of technology and disability in education policies and practices to enhance the lives of people with disabilities and their families. NCDAE works on policy, research, training and technical assistance, and dissemination of information. NCDAE accomplishes its purpose through an affiliate network of over 500 national and international partners in education, business and industry, and government.”

NCDAE cheatsheets guide creation of accessible materials in Microsoft and Adobe products, as well as others.

National Center on Universal Design for Learning

A program of CAST, the National UDL Center supports the effective implementation of UDL by connecting stakeholders in the field and providing resources and information about Universal Design for Learning, a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.

WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind)

Articles about web accessibility techniques, rationale, and legal factors. WebAIM is a non-profit organization based at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.