Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies

Best Practices for Information Professionals

Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies









Libraries Unlimited
June 2017
177 pages, paperback, $50
ISBN 978-1-4408-5440-8

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"A bounty of resources and strategies for advancing user-centered innovation"

— Joyce Kasman Valenza, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Rutgers School of Communication & Information

"An incredibly useful, compact, and well thought-out aid for any librarian or information specialist."

— Candy Schwartz, Professor, Simmons School of Library and Information Science

Learn the best methods for keeping up — no matter what new technology is trending

There are several books written for librarians about specific new technologies, but it’s hard to find a comprehensive resource for the best methods for keeping up, along with integrating new technologies into library services. That’s why I’ve written this book.

This handbook covers a wide variety of methods, including:

  • gathering information about new technologies
  • evaluating them
  • setting up experiments to help you match technologies with user needs
  • and how to recommend the use of new technologies in library services.

Make a positive difference in the lives of your users

In my 14 years working at the MIT Libraries (first as web manager, then as head of the user experience department) I had a chance to try out many different techniques, and to benefit from the ideas of experts outside of our field.

In this book I’ve brought together all of the most useful methods (tried and tested), in order to make this information easy to use in your library.

When you have a plan and a set of methods like these, you can design library services that make a strong positive difference in the lives of your users. And you can keep up with the fast changing world of new technologies.


"A bounty of resources and strategies for advancing user-centered innovation"

People often ask me how I keep up. While I may have a few tricks up my sleeve, Nicole Hennig offers a rich field guide, not just for keeping up, but for leading, (My copy is utterly dog-eared.)

Whether you are an emerging technologies librarian, an LIS student or faculty member, or an information professional attempting to spot trends and stay on top of practice, Nicole presents a manageable framework. Her compact guidebook looks well beyond the library lens to offer essential tools for managing information flow, incorporating design thinking; considering user needs; implementing change; addressing issues relating to ethics and inclusion; evaluating projects and defining new job roles.

Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies also inspires the dispositions necessary for navigating shift with a sense of playfulness and agility. Wherever you sit on Nicole’s visionary/implementer spectrum, you will appreciate her practical suggestions, bounty of resources and the strategies for advancing user-centered innovation.

— Joyce Kasman Valenza, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Rutgers School of Communication & Information

"An incredibly useful, compact, and well thought-out aid for any librarian or information specialist."

Nicole Hennig’s Keeping Up With Emerging Technologies distills the author’s own practices—honed on the job at MIT and in her personal life— into an incredibly useful, compact, and well thought-out aid for any librarian or information specialist.

Rather than providing a list of resources (although these are present), Hennig has laid out strategies and suggested tools for mastering the glut of information on new and near-future technologies. She covers the advantages and disadvantages of news resource types and how to manage overload by skimming, evaluating, organizing, and pruning. Since the focus is on library services, Hennig includes sections directed to the workplace: user needs, ethics, inclusion, design thinking, taking risks, sandboxes and prototyping, knowing when to fold, implementation, and persuading stakeholders to support success.

Eminently practical, but by no means boring, Hennig reminds the reader to look beyond recommended library and technology news sources to popular culture and science fiction, especially where creative thinking about the near future is concerned. Highly recommended for anyone in the field, from library staff to managers, and also for students entering the profession.

— Candy Schwartz, Professor, Simmons School of Library and Information Science

Who is it for?

  • librarians
  • educators
  • educational technology specialists
  • those with “emerging technologies” in their job titles
  • those who manage these positions and need to write job descriptions for them
  • library school students who want to follow this career path
  • those who are designing curriculum for this career choice


The book serves as an invaluable guide not only to resources and methods for staying current and performing the duties, but also as a tool to place the role of Emerging Technologies Librarian into the broader context of librarianship.
– Michael C. McGuire, Colby College, College & Research Libraries (full review)


“The time management strategies for processing and organizing information and continuing to keep up as technology changes are especially useful. . . . Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies is a valuable resource that can be read cover to cover or used for its extensive resources.”
– Marissa Lieberman, VOYA


“Staying on top of new technology is difficult, even for the most tech-savvy professionals. Hennig simplifies for the harried librarian the process of finding information on emerging technology, touching on sources in several formats, along with sharing methods and processes for staying abreast in the field… Overall, a handy guide to keeping up with emerging technologies for those of us with little time to devote to the endeavor.”
– Deidre Winterhalter, Booklist (full review)


“Because books on technology can quickly become outdated, I elevated this to the top of my reading pile when it arrived. I needn’t have worried; this book about technology has ideas and tips that will be relevant for quite some time.”
– minnemom, Amazon (full review)




1. Introduction

  • Why this book?
  • Visionaries and implementers: two roles for this work
  • Challenges for libraries: technology staffing

2. Gathering Information: Sources and Strategies

  • Introduction
  • Skimming and scanning
  • Newsletters, feeds, & groups
  • Multimedia resources: video, audio, and courses
  • Conferences and local events
  • Trend reports
  • Books
  • Popular culture and science fiction
  • Dealing with information overload

3. Gathering Information: More Strategies

  • Look outside your field or discipline
  • Categories of technologies
  • How far out to look
  • Visionaries and implementers – strategies for each

4. Gathering Information: User Needs

  • UX: User Experience
  • Types of user research
  • Examples

5. Inclusion, Ethics, and The Digital Divide

  • Following ethical debates
  • Being inclusive: diversity, accessibility, and the digital divide

6. Evaluating Information

  • Introduction
  • Letting ideas percolate
  • Note-taking
  • Curating information for others
  • Trends versus fads

7. Experimenting

  • Hands-on play
  • Project methods: design thinking
  • Project methods: agile, and “the lean startup”
  • Ideation methods
  • Designing experiments and evaluating the results
  • Criteria for evaluating your experiments

8. Moving Toward Implementation

  • Presenting to and persuading decision-makers
  • Passing on projects to implementers

9. Emerging Technologies Librarians – Defining Job Roles

  • Current job descriptions
  • Defining this type of position for your organization
  • What to do if you are a very small organization
  • Diversity and “performance-based job descriptions”
  • Template for your job description

10. Epilogue

  • Summary and conclusion

11. Resource Guide

  • Bibliography: books, blogs, articles, websites
  • Guide to mobile apps

Learn the best methods for keeping up.