Sunday, July 22, 2018

Blockchain Technology and its potential use in Libraries

Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which is a distributed, independent electronic cash transaction system. The concept was proposed by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and as result digital bitcoin currency emerged in 2009.

This  technology consists of a chain of blocks (distributed database) i.e. records which are linked and secured by encryption technology called cryptography. Data in blocks cannot be altered once stored without the alteration of the data stored in all blocks. It is an example of distributed computing system in which the open ledgers are distributed between the parties and they can do the transaction of data directly in a secured manner without the requirement of any common processor.
Potential use in Libraries
Libraries worldwide are seeking the use of this nascent technology in making their services better and better but not ignoring the risks involved. How the blockchain technology would add value to library services and the communities they serve is the purpose of the library experts.
According to Jason Griffy, (Technology Consultant for libraries at Harvard  University) “Blockchain is just an information storage system with some very  unusual properties (multiple untrusted authors, provable authorship, automated consensus, decentralization of content), and it’s in those properties that its use is  found.”1
Libchain2, a prototype of an open, verifiable and anonymous access management system has been developed integrating blockchain technology which can be used for management of payments between publishers and libraries, lending books from a library.

Building enhanced metadata center, facilitating partnership of Libraries with Government organizations, museums, universities through blockchain framework, to make the information availability and accessibility at wider level, creating community based collections and copyright issues are some points on which our library experts are working on. Research is going on and an idea of implementing blockchain technology in libraries is still in the infancy stage.