This post is sort of an expansion on a post from Jason Griffey’s blog Pattern Recognition (original post: Estonia E-Residency). So you may want to start by reading it.
In Mr. Griffey’s article he shows how the government of Estonia is allowing for digital citizenship to their country, and as part of the process each digital citizen is issued an electronic identity card. This card interacts with a portable USB device to allow access to government services such as starting a business in Estonia.
My brain took one look at this tech and it’s potential and said “Whoa…imagine what libraries could do with that!”.
If you stop and think about it a library card, with a digital smart chip (like the ones being added rapidly to credit cards here in the US), could allow access to all of a libraries e-resources remotely from anywhere in the world. Yes I know your going to be sitting there saying “But Jim many libraries already do that with someones library card number.” which is absolutely true. However have you ever tried to remember your (in my libraries case) 14 digit library card number an hour before bed when you just want a new e-book to read not to mention your username password and or pin number?…I can tell you it’s not easy.
Not to mention in the case of the Estonian citizenship card imagine if it allowed access to not only the digital resources of your local library but to your national library as well. The National Library Estonia for example who’s starting home page lists wondrous amounts of e-resources. This would eliminate the need for usernames and passwords, (which frankly don’t we have to many to keep track of already) and it would allow for anyone whom is a citizen / library member to have a simple means of accessing their libraries resources from anywhere in the world.
That’s some serious potential in my opinion.
Needless to say I’ll be keeping an eye on this tech and it’s further developments.