Research Libraries on their way out?

Zdnet has this lengthy and interesting article about copyright and its effect on research libraries. In addition, are research libraries \"virtually\" kicking themselves out of businnes. \"As is so often the case when established industries meet the Internet, there is a paradox here: The libraries\' rush into digital technologies may be a sprint toward their demise. At the very least, a monumental transformation seems inevitable. Yet, there is no turning back.\"\"Research libraries around the country have embraced bits and bytes as their future, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to become \"libraries without walls,\" as the University of Virginia\'s librarian, Karin Wittenborg, described it.\"

\"Do we need a building?\" wondered Deanna Marcum, an internationally renowned librarian and president of the Council on Library and Information Resources in Washington, DC. \"The question I like to ask my students is: What happens to the library when we don\'t have to go there, when the library acts as a service instead of a place?\"

\"Paper, ink, books, shelves, dust: These were the hallmarks of research libraries all of 10 years ago. And for all its concentration on matters cerebral, the act of research itself was steeped in the physical: People traveled to libraries, sifted through card catalogues, walked the stacks hunting for books, fished tomes from shelves, lugged them to photocopy machines, leafed through pages and penned notes on paper.

But the research library as an embodiment of a tactile universe of research is changing.\"

There is pointing. There is clicking. There is light on a screen. It is becoming a digital enterprise.\"

\"But as it embraces the Digital Age, the research library is increasingly under assault from the software publishing industry, which is working to see copyright law upended. Even more ominously, experts say, the software industry is working hard to eliminate for digital content the built-in exemptions that libraries enjoy under existing copyright law - exemptions that enable them, for example, to lend information or to archive it.

\"The research library, an institution grounded in more than 200 years of creaking, ponderous, slowly evolving tradition, will not resemble itself five years from today, many leading librarians and experts say.\"

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