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13517Re: [mythsoc] libraries

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  • Larry Swain
    Dec 20, 2004
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      ->
      > Larry Swain wrote:
      >
      > > Most of us have been around long enough to remember about 8-9
      > > years ago and the buzz word of the time: "library without walls"
      > > and how the Internet was going to make it possible to do away
      > > with the venerable academic library. Some administrators at some
      > > big name universities were in fact advocating slashing their
      > > libraries' budgets in favor of the information on the Internet.
      > > You'll note no doubt that we no longer hear that buzz phrase; and
      > > most library budgets haven't been slashed, but increased since
      > > publishing hasn't gone wholesale into print on demand or
      > > e-publishing;

      David replies:
      > Increased, really? That must be nice wherever you are, but in this
      > country, all that's happened is that they've stopped pretending that the
      > cuts aren't going to hurt.

      Perhaps, but generally the cuts are now across the board at public universities and not directed specifically at getting rid of libraries. Therein for the purposes of this discussion lies a world of difference.


      > > Libraries, as they did when back in 60s and 70s tapes, followed
      > > years later by video tape, then CDs, which were all going to
      > > revoutionize data storage and put an end to libraries in their
      > > day, have absorbed the Internet and made it their own.
      >
      > It's older than that. Microfilm was the Great Answer of the 1950s.
      > Everything was going to be put on microfilm, and older books would no
      > longer be needed.

      True.


      >
      > > No matter what media the information takes, one needs information
      > > specialists to access it effectively--and that's what libraries
      > > and librarians do: access a wide range of information across
      > > different media and platforms more effectively than a Google
      > > search does and will.
      >
      > Sometimes a Google search is the most effective thing; sometimes it isn't.

      Depends on what you're searching. Even when this project is complete, Google can only search what is in its database--it can't search the books on my shelf for me.


      > Sometimes commercial enterprise is the wisest way to accomplish a project;
      > sometimes it isn't. The challenge is conveying to dim-minded enthusiasts
      > of something that, if you think it isn't always the best way, that doesn't
      > mean you're totally against it.

      I'm more than well aware of the problem; and regrettably the dim-witted enthusiast is too often in a seat with the reins.

      Larry

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