The recent TA23 Conference in Vienna witnessed an engaging presentation by Mrs. Dana Wasserbacher from our partners at Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH (AIT), titled “Public libraries as future knowledge infrastructures.” In the session, themed “Transformation of knowledge infrastructures,” two other case studies on knowledge infrastructures, i.e. media and vision assessment, were presented alongside the forward-looking approach of the LibrarIN project. With approximately 100 participants from esteemed institutions, the conference as a whole, but also the presentation on libraries as future knowledge infrastructures garnered positive feedback, highlighting the importance of analysing libraries from a future-oriented perspective and reimagining them as heterotopic spaces.
Mrs. Dana Wasserbacher’s Presentation on LibrarIN
Mrs.Dana Wasserbacher‘s presentation on the LibrarIN project captivated the audience with its focus on libraries as future knowledge infrastructures. The session explored the heterotopic characteristics of libraries with the case study of the Austrian National Library, focusing on digital innovations such as the digitisation of books, co-creative digitisation workshops on old manuscripts or augmented reality applications for workshops with children. Wasserbacher shed light on the project’s overall objectives, highlighting the role of Foresight and forward-looking approaches in facilitating infrastructural transformations.
The presentation on our project received positive feedback from conference participants. Attendees appreciated the project’s holistic approach to innovation in libraries and the specific approach to explore possible futures of public libraries through reimagining them as heterotopic spaces. The audience showed particular interest in the initial findings of LibrarIN’s publication screening and surveys, expressing surprise at the relatively limited prominence of innovation terminology in the realm of public libraries. At the same time, discussions also touched upon the definition of innovation within the project consortium and the potential and challenges for social innovations in libraries.
Most importantly, participants recognised the importance of forward-looking and innovative practices in dispelling libraries’ outdated reputation. They acknowledged the need for making libraries more appealing and relevant, especially in the face of digitalisation.
A few words about the Conference
The TA23 Conference serves as an annual gathering for researchers and practitioners in the field of technology assessment (TA), drawing participants from renowned institutions such as ITAS, ITA, TA Swiss, and many more. Against the backdrop of ongoing global challenges and technological advancements, the conference posed critical questions about the future readiness and changing demands on infrastructures. It provided a platform to discuss the role of technology assessment and forward-looking activities in facilitating infrastructural transformations.