BitCoins and Blockchains. You may have heard about these technologies, but do you know what they mean? Perhaps you have wondered whether blockchain is something that you should be paying attention to. How could libraries be taking advantage of blockchain?
For the past 18 months, Dr. Sandra Hirsh and Dr. Sue Alman, San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool), have investigated potential applications of blockchain technology in libraries. The initiative, funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), resulted in a website and blog that share information about the project and blockchain news and stories, as well as recorded and archived presentations from the Library 2.018 online conference Blockchain Applied: Impact on the Information Profession and a national forum which brought together 26 blockchain experts and leaders to discuss possible application of blockchain technology in libraries and communities.
To learn more about blockchain and what it means, you are encouraged to register for the upcoming no-cost Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that is called Blockchain & Decentralization for the Information Industries. This 6-week Blockchain MOOC will run from March 11 – April 21, 2019. The course is being taught by Jason Griffey who is an expert in blockchain and decentralized technologies.
The free online course will provide an overview of blockchain technology, and it will cover crucial topics including decentralization, systems and services (such as Bitcoin and Ethereum), use cases for libraries, and potential future directions. The course will also address issues related to legalities, copyright, and personal data. The content is applicable to all fields of information science and data management, including law, public and academic libraries and archives, and health informatics.
You do not have to know anything in advance about blockchain or decentralized technologies before taking this course. It will walk you through details and introductions to the technology, all the way through existing services and systems and finally to what a decentralized future might look like. Here is an overview of what will be covered each week in this course:
- Week 1 – March 11-17: Overview and History of Blockchain
- Week 2 – March 18-24: Issues, Considerations, Problems
- Week 3 – March 25-31: Decentralization
- Week 4 – April 1-7: Systems & Services
- Week 5 – April 8-14: Use Cases – Public Libraries, Academic Libraries, Museums, Archives
- Week 6 – April 15-21: Future Directions & Next Steps
The symposium-based course includes video presentations, readings and resources, and a discussion-based format, and offers badges and certificates for completion of course units. Registration is open now and will remain open until the course begins. We hope you will enroll in the course for an opportunity to participate in this international dialog of potential library blockchain use cases.