Windows 8 and Microsoft Office 2013 are the two new versions of the respective Software that are discussed currently in the technology forums. Windows 8 was released in October 2012 and Microsoft Office 2013 is expected to be released on January 29th 2013. It is that time for changes again; only, this time things are a little complicated. I am talking about Windows 8, which is a new approach by Microsoft and has significant differences from its predecessors. For tech savvy people all it takes is a few hours to get used to the new version. For non-tech savvy people this is a different story. Add to this the fact that Microsoft released Windows 8 too early. This is translated into a number of applications and functions missing and pending to be added in future online updates that our computers receive constantly or on the Microsoft Website. This means that the user must be knowledgeable in order to compensate for what is missing or use alternatives suggested on the Microsoft Website and forums.
This is the big question for libraries, especially the public ones. It is impossible to train all users to use Windows 8 quickly and effectively. Some users may not even want to be trained. Don’t take me wrong; I love Windows 8. I’m just realistic when I say that the transition needs to be smooth in public libraries (especially). The way I see it, libraries should wait a year for Microsoft to make the additions to the software, allowing at the same time enough users to get acquainted with it at home or even get used to the idea of the change, before bringing it in. On the other hand, my recommendation is to have Windows 8 installed in a couple of terminals for the users who know how to use it and, of course, to the librarians terminals, because they are expected to overcome the difficulties that this change presents. As for Microsoft Office 2013, things are easier and I don’t foresee problems in the case that a library decides to switch from the 2007 or 2010 versions.