Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bookless libraries

The professor for my class posted an article in Moodle about how Stanford was planning a bookless library:
Blind Spots: Humanists must plan their digital future

Stanford was planning on digitizing all their books in their engineering library, moving the physical books to off-site storage, and turning the building into a computer commons. The faculty objected, and so they've put the plans on hold. But the faculty have submitted a proposal for what they think should be developed. They suggest creating "research portals" that could mimic as closely as possible what faculty value about browsing real books.

One of the author's main points is that planning the future of online libraries shouldn't be left to librarians and technologists. At first, I was prepared to be offended that he didn't think librarians were competent enough to do it. But then I realized that I could agree with his argument that faculty should be working with librarians and technologists to decide what should be done. It would be better to be working closely with faculty to determine what will be most helpful for them and their students. Sometimes we can be too cut off from faculty, which prevents us from really serving the academic community effectively. The author ends by saying, "Unless scholars in the humanities help design and model the environments in which they will work, they will not be able to use them."

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