How different would the world be if we still had access to the collective wisdom from the library of Alexandria, the Villa of the Papyri and other important custodians of wisdom that was tragically lost through fire, war and earthquakes over the centuries.
Libraries in their non-physical form, are basically huge databases that store information about their belongings…or the information they contain in the form of books, documents, records, and they are usually classified by title and author.
In modern libraries, it’s easier to find the books you’re looking for with computer classification, but in older libraries, handwritten data or an outdated computer program can make discovering the books a challenge.
How could we marry the ancient and the modern, the priceless information we want to preserve and the modern technology capable of this task? I think it was obvious we were going to touch the subject of Blockchain and its capabilities of preserving even the oldest of the scrolls.
What makes Blockchain-based platforms suitable for smart libraries?
A number of industries are working day and night to implement blockchain technologies because of its cybersecurity possibilities and decentralization.
Health and finances are currently testing their abilities in the blockchain industry, and education is on its path too.
There’s a reason why industries are gathering blockchain experts to build their businesses around innovative technologies.
There is a sound business case for libraries to utilize the blockchain technology to revamp their antiquated systems and improve the students’ user experience.
Many libraries have started to experiment with blockchain, but the concept is still in its infancy.
What Benefits does blockchain have for libraries
- The blockchain is a public ledger that records and can verify the data. It’s great for building an enhanced metadata system for libraries (and data centers).
- We can use blockchain to create a network of libraries and universities, connecting the data held in them for access and record keeping, benefitting both students and library staff.
- The very nature of an immutable system is that it cannot be altered and history is preserved
- The ledger is distributed through every node, and the whole network can have information about the library’s data.
- Everything is transparent for students, teachers, library workers, so borrowed data can be traced to the original book borrower, and returned for other researchers. No book will go missing or get mixed-up.
Can Smart libraries benefit students and teachers in new ways?
Ask yourself how blockchain can help you, as a student?
- Cut out time wasted looking for a book that might not even be at the library.
- Notification of book returns by the previous borrower.
- No more stolen, lost and misplaced books.
- A system that can be linked with your university and other institutions.
- Blockchain can create a partnership network, a community where users know who borrowed what, when did they borrow and when it’s going to be returned.
- Blockchain technologies can create a digital sharing platform for library users. It can protect first sale (or sometimes, first borrow) rights.
It can support a badging or ranking system for library users. For example, users can assess each other and the library by the rules, behavior, and skills. Students can create their digital portfolios, and smart libraries will be able to verify and authenticate their skills and expertise.
Does that sound complicated or far-fetched?
I know it might be confusing, but the best thing about the blockchain is that it’s not really THAT complex. You might not understand the definition, and you might find it hard to perceive it in physical form, but more than 70% of Internet users don’t understand the internet, and they don’t seem to have any problem with using it.
The truth is that blockchain can create the libraries of the future. They can benefit students, teachers, authors, library staff and anyone else who’d love to read a book or two.
Blockchain and information by their very nature are interwoven and interconnected…its a small step from where we are to our blockchain libraries of the future.