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Blockchain and the Information Professions

Introduction, Speculative Applications, and Research Materials

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a technology that records digital transactions in a way that is designed to be highly secure. With the help of strong codes and duplicate records shared across a network of computers, the data stored in a blockchain are resistant to modification. That makes for an infrastructure in which information can be easily verified and exchanged with a great deal of trust.

How it Works

Xavier Decuyper, creator of the Simply Explained YouTube channel, has put together one of the clearest and most concise explanations of the technology on the web:

And this visual demonstration goes into further detail:

Why it Matters

Blockchain could transform many of the ways in which people — and organizations — work together. By providing a simple, secure means for establishing trust in virtually any kind of transaction, the infrastructure has the potential to help simplify the movement of sensitive information worldwide. Indeed, it could make entire data sharing processes significantly more efficient and transparent, while at the same time reducing recordkeeping costs and the risk of losing information to disaster or sabotage.

The Applications & Future Directions page of this guide previews some examples of how blockchain technology might be used in libraries or by information professionals.