(This message may be off topic, but I'll try posting it here anyway.)
I learned this morning that Duke University will be giving away bunches
o' iPods to incoming freshman, and they will be come pre-filled with
content for the students' schoolwork:
Extend this further. Imagine in the future an entire library on an
thing the size of an iPod. I'm not talking about just indexes and
catalogs. Rather, I'm talking digitized, full text content. All of the
encyclopedia. All of the books in the stacks. All of the journals since
forever. All of the videos and music. All of the things from Special
Collections and archives. Everything. The entire collection.
What would a library be in such a scenario? I don't think it would be
very much about collections because everybody would be carrying the
entire collection around in their pocket. Instead, I think library
would be more about service -- ways to use and interpret the
information/knowledge in the collection.
My point is two-fold. First, collections without services is like the
sound of one hand clapping. Both are required in order for libraries to
exist. Second, in a digital environment, libraries had better wake up,
smell the coffee, and work on ways to provide more services digitally.
As access becomes increasingly irrelevant, everybody will have access,
other services will have to become more important, such as
interpretation and manipulation.
Eric "Early Morning Musing" Morgan