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13482RE: [mythsoc] libraries

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  • Croft, Janet B.
    Dec 17, 2004
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      Interesting, to be sure, and the whole Google project is just making
      public many of the debates we've had for decades within our own
      profession. But as David pointed out earlier, you just can't beat the
      efficiency of ink on paper as a stable long-term storage device for
      information, so I can't buy into books going away. And you have to store
      them somewhere and take care of them and have a retrieval system in
      place, so there is still going to be a physical library that consists of
      a collection of physical books.

      Also, with the advent of the personal computer and the internet, we have
      seen the library has become the place where people without home access,
      or who are away from home, can reap the benefits of the information
      explosion or just communicate with friends and family. The economic gap
      between people who can afford access and equipment and people who can't
      shows no signs of disappearing.

      Another point -- Google's project may be worthwhile, and I look forward
      to seeing online texts that even Gutenberg hasn't digitized yet, but
      for research it can't hold a candle to using an actual library website
      where the noise of ads and commercialism have been kept out for the
      user's benefit. And there is the "legitimizing" factor -- a librarian
      has chosen this particular database, based on evaluations of its content
      and organization, and has arranged the library website for efficient
      use, maybe even adding bells and whistles like federated searching and
      article linking, so you know that what you're getting has been evaluated
      in some way, at least at the macro level.

      So while I agree with some of the author's conclusions -- and I hope my
      profession will pay so well someday that people will think I went into
      it for the money! -- I cannot agree that the physical library will ever
      go away. Libraries, and the jobs librarians do, will change, and have
      been changing since libraries were first invented, but I feel there will
      always be a need for a place called the library.

      (Okay, to drag it back to topic: Libraries in science fiction:
      realistic, utopian, or dystopian? Discuss.)

      Janet Brennan Croft
      Head of Access Services
      University of Oklahoma Libraries
      Bizzell 104NW
      Norman OK 73019
      Fax 405-325-7618
      "In early days, I tried not to give librarians any trouble, which was
      where I made my primary mistake. Librarians like to be given trouble;
      they exist for it, they are geared to it. For the location of a mislaid
      volume, an uncatalogued item, your good librarian has a ferret's nose.
      Give her a scent and she jumps the leash, her eye bright with battle."
      Catherine Drinker Bowen (1897-1973), U.S. biographer. Adventures of a
      Biographer, ch. 9 (1959).

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Stolzi [mailto:Stolzi@...]
      Sent: Friday, December 17, 2004 9:10 AM
      To: Mythopoeic Society
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] libraries

      Here's another article on the subject, raising some other interesting


      For instance: "As things stand, the spending decisions of publishers
      librarians) grant a kind of imprimatur to printed works, legitimizing
      them for the sphere of public discourse. Who will fill this function in
      the future? Should anyone? "

      Everyone should feel free to ignore any kind remarks therein about
      private enterprise.

      Our librarian when I was a child had no political opinions I am aware
      of, but fervently believed in astrology. He and my mother shared a
      birth-month and he was always trying to tout her on a book about the
      glories of being an Aquarian.

      I shall always be glad that the children's section had not "got the
      and tossed Baum.

      Diamond Proudbrook

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