Jason Griffey explores using Blockchain in the library
Speaking at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Jason Griffey discussed how Blockchain, the much-hyped technology behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, can be adapted to improve the way libraries store information. Griffey is an affiliate fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and the creator of The LibraryBox Project, an open source portable digital file distribution system.
Griffey opened his lecture by describing that new technologies like Blockchain can suffer from excessive hype that leads to inflated expectations. Once the hype calms down and researchers and developers see the technology in a more realistic light, they can find sustainable and productive applications. Griffey argues that Blockchain is moving into this stage of productivity.
John O’Brien, associate dean of CMU-Q, said, “Blockchain is a fascinating topic, and Jason Griffey has a very interesting perspective as a librarian who works on technologies that provide open and robust access to information. Decentralization technologies can influence many parts of society, well beyond cryptocurrencies that make the news.”
Looking forward, Griffey commented that there are many areas where Blockchain technology can change the way libraries store information. Griffey is the founder and principal at Evenly Distributed, a technology consulting and creation firm for libraries, museums, education, and other non-profits. One area of potential growth, he said, is digital provenance, with Blockchain allowing for an unalterable history of the possession or ownership of an object.
Griffey was speaking as part of the Gloriana St. Clair Distinguished Lectures in 21st Century Librarianship at CMU-Q. This series is named in honor of the dean of libraries emerita, who served as dean of Carnegie Mellon University Libraries from 1998 to 2013. Gloriana St. Clair dedicated her career to building the digital library of the future.