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Monday, March 20, 2006
 
Libraries +10 ::

Theolib has an interesting, if short, post on the future of theological libraries. Here's a key extract:
  1. During the next ten years, the medium for information storage, discovery, and retrieval will become primarily digital.
  2. For many, digital media will also the media of choice for information use. A significant portion of users, however, will require a print on demand service to support the use of information stored in digital format.
  3. The concept of a library collection will either be redefined or simply become obsolete. Aggregators and publishers will continue to bundle multiple titles into single price packages available through license agreements. (Libraries have traditionally selected such items individually for purchase and permanent addition to a physical collection.)
  4. Publishers and aggregators will market directly to users, bypassing libraries. Information discovery tools the build on the technologies of Google, Yahoo and others will seamlessly index information available through open access as well as licensed materials.
  5. The primary pedagogical task for librarians will shift from collection development as a means of filtering information and providing quality control for users to helping users to develop the skills to filter and to critically assess the information they discover.
  6. The primary "technical services" task will be to build linking mechanisms that enable social network tagging systems to easily communicate with each other.
I wondered a bit about that comment on the need for PoD (Print on Demand facilities to print and bind documents as and when needed, as sort of just-in-time publishing ;), but I guess if the timeframe is ten years out then there will still be significant numbers of users needing print editions. And that has consequences. Once libraries invest significant capital in PoD, then they will need to encourage users to use it... maybe the print codex has a longer lifespan (outside aesthetic and antiquarian motives) than we had thought...


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