Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Paper Library > Automated Library > Electronic Library
As I noted in my earlier post today, we seem to be stuck in the transitional Automated Library, part paper, part electronic. One of Buckland's more practical insights is that local storage is optional.
"Just as the change from the Paper Library to the Automated Library, in conjunction with the rise of on-line bibliographies, changes our perspective on the catalog, so also the rise of the Electronic Library changes our perspective on collecting and local collections. Instead of our thinking being dominated by local collections, as is unavoidable with the Paper Library and the Automated Library, the effect of having electronic documents is to make local storage optional rather than necessary."
At some point, the cost of storing and maintaining paper and microform collections has to outweigh the "just in case" argument. Especially as more of the contents of those materials are available electronically. It may not be a book you can hold in your hand, but if the content can be read or viewed anytime by simultaneous users, isn't that a trade-off that cannot be denied?
His keynote ended with this not-so modest proposal:
"Finally, I suggest you burn down the library. All the books in the world are already digitized! Burn the thing down. Change it into a gathering place; a digital commons. Stop air conditioning the books! None of us has the Alexandria Library; Michigan, Oxford [UK], and Stanford [CA] have digitized their collections. What do you have that they don't? Why are you buying new books? Buy digital and let's spend some more time making those things level, flat, and transparent so a single search turns up everything we have. This has to change, because it's clear that people want to find information digitally. They want to search for it, find it, have it, and then amalgamate search results into a précis."
So he's for the idea of a commons-like gathering place. That's good. And he's right about the need to shrink our collections for the sake of efficiency. But we are still a ways from digitizing "all the books in the world." My experience with Google Book Search is that the "full view" items, i.e., those completely clear of copyright, are not what my students are looking for.
The title of his speech "From Context to Core" is a worthwhile concept. We have to work hard on defining the core for the institution and for the library that serves the institution. The Information/Learning Commons is a response to a newly defined core, a transformation in the definition of service and resources. But for a while we are going to have to support a transitional kind of organization, one that slowly but inevitably moves toward Sannier's vision. Just not yet.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
IC's primary tool has been the desktop PC or MAC. Most ICs are wireless and many loan laptops. What about the shrinking interface? Netbooks? iPhone or other touchscreen devices? Follow the latest developments in library interfaces on userslib.com.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The list is for the discussion of issues relating to the planning, implementation, assessment, and support of information commons facilities that integrate the resources and services of libraries with enhanced information technology. List subscribers are also welcome to explore corollary topics when discussed in the specific context of IC management, such as information literacy, learning communities, faculty development, and facility design.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
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