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Could blockchain technology revive Spain’s libraries?

Christina Comben

Blockchain in Spain has the potential to disrupt many public and private services. This Mediterranean country, which has previously kept a low profile when it comes to innovation, is now one of the pioneers in fintech.

Spain has taken blockchain implementation seriously. This new approach toward modern technology could give the country a whole new face.

Blockchain and digitisation could help revive many of Spain’s dusty and highly bureaucratic public services, including its libraries.

Public library attendance in Spain

In 2017, the average Spanish citizen read an average of five hours and 48 minutes a week. This may not seem like that much, yet Spain ranks among the top 20 countries in the world that read the most. Moreover, many people still use public libraries – most of them teenagers and young adults aged between 14 and 35.

Public libraries, especially in the large cities of Spain, have been implementing a series of measures to meet the needs of the younger generations. Most of them have enriched their collections with eBooks, magazines, works of art, travel guides, and even films to improve the user experience. Most have study areas with free WIFI and provide additional services to encourage reading and studying.

The National Library of Spain has been working on a digital library that currently includes over 218,000 titles. This is proof that Spain is aware that the country’s reading habits are changing and is taking measures to keep up.

However, the situation is far from perfect, and the public lending service saw a substantial decline in 2018. It may be the time for Spain’s libraries to dig deeper into what the public wants and adjust their services even further. Technology like blockchain in Spain could fill the gap and bring readers even closer to public libraries.

How blockchain in Spain could change libraries

From smart contracts to tracking transactional data, blockchain technology can benefit Spanish society in more ways than one. IT professionals working in private and public libraries could use it for building and securing data centres, record keeping, and many other applications besides.

Here are a few ways that Spanish libraries could benefit from implementing blockchain-based solutions.

Sharing information outside the physical library

Blockchain technology can support applications that enable sharing data and files outside the library’s walls within an autonomous system. While this service could be seen as a threat to the concept of the library itself, it could also enable people to get information faster. They could use their devices to access digital files in complete safety or find information about books in a library without human interaction.

Furthermore, the system could help the government or special libraries. A blockchain-based network could improve the security of classified data in a wide range of information-sharing scenarios.

Keeping accurate records

Blockchain has become synonymous with security, privacy, and efficiency. Inside libraries, the technology could generate a revolution in the ways these institutions manage digital rights and preserve documents.

When libraries use blockchain to track their activities, they can guarantee the accuracy of their records. There’s less likelihood of having to handle corrupted files or interrupted research workflows when everything is recorded on the blockchain.

Identity management

As more libraries use electronic resources to enhance their services, managing access to information can become a challenge. Many librarians struggle with implementing the right policies to ensure that only users who comply with the terms and conditions can access specific information.

Blockchain in Spain could change some of the methods used in this field by streamlining processes. It could help automate many tasks, leaving specialists with more time for the human side of the job – the one that includes judgment, research, and understanding the content.

Is blockchain ready to disrupt Spanish libraries?

Spain is currently a leading European country in blockchain implementation. Politicians may be struggling to reach agreements in many areas, but they all encourage blockchain adoption in this country.

Blockchain in Spain is expected to increase efficiency and transparency in government administration and, most probably, can be used for public libraries successfully as well.

But are its libraries ready to embrace change at this level? Implementing blockchain technology involves working with project managers, programmers, and inter-disciplinary teams.

For now, many libraries don’t have the infrastructure for developing and managing software and dApps. So, they’ll need to rely on independent providers or invest many of their resources in research and tech programmes.

Either way, this would be a long-term project that required governmental support – but the investment could pay off with excellent results for both the institutions and end-users.

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