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Libraries are Obsolete
The real retort to the deficit argument that libraries are obsolete is not to find new and bigger problems, but to focus on (or at the VERY least include) aspirational arguments for libraries.
"Libraries as band aids may be obsolete, but that is not why we need libraries. We need libraries so we can fix our education system, so we can fix our economy, so we can fix our democracies yes. But we need libraries even more to discover new knowledge not found in any textbook. We need libraries to create whole new opportunities for innovation. We need libraries to give our communities a voice and power in the working of government. Libraries will never be obsolete so long as our communities dream, and strive, and work to ensure a world of insurmountable opportunities."
Positive Vision and Questions in Libraries
How can we shift our professional discourse away from all the problems facing libraries and instead think about questions like “what what do libraries look like when they are at their best” and “what would an ideal library look like?”
‘Where are these jobs that will require such rapid “searching, browsing, assessing quality, and synthesizing the vast quantities of information”? We don’t need those skills to drive a truck or manage company accounts or sell clothes or do IT customer service or write novels or write code or give inoculations to patients or teach seven-year-olds how to read … so what do, or what will, need them for? And how many of us will need them?’
The Age of Big Data
The story is similar in fields as varied as science and sports, advertising and public health — a drift toward data-driven discovery and decision-making. “It’s a revolution,” says Gary King, director of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science. “We’re really just getting under way. But the march of quantification, made possible by enormous new sources of data, will sweep through academia, business and government. There is no area that is going to be untouched.”
Is The Web Really Just Links Or Is It Evolving?
A web of links can be limiting when looking at applications. When looking at reading a news story, links make sense, but reading articles is only part of the web. By looking at the data available, we are starting to create a more interactive and informative web. Sarah Perez at TechCrunch thinks this could be moving towards a web of apps, but that post is more focused on mobile apps. As I said previously, mobile apps tend to be limiting in their own ways.
A Point of View: Why didn't Harry Potter just use Google?
In a world that is overwhelmed with ways of accessing information, we must decide what to remember and what to forget, says historian Lisa Jardine.
The danger today is rather that we are reluctant to let go of any information garnered from however recondite a source. Every historian knows that no narrative will be intelligible to a reader if it includes all the detail the author amassed in the course of their research. A clear thread has to be teased from the mass of available evidence, to focus, direct and ultimately give meaning to what has been assembled for analysis. Daring to discard is as crucial as safe-guarding, for effective knowledge management and transmission today.
There are three basic reasons scientific data has increased to the point that the brickyard metaphor now looks 19th century. First, the economics of deletion have changed. Second, the economics of sharing have changed. The Library of Congress has tens of millions of items in storage because physics makes it hard to display and preserve, much less to share, physical objects. Third, computers have become exponentially smarter. John Wilbanks, vice president for Science at Creative Commons (formerly called Science Commons), notes that "[i]t used to take a year to map a gene. Now you can do thirty thousand on your desktop computer in a day. A $2,000 machine -- a microarray -- now lets you look at the human genome reacting over time."
The future of information access, part 1 and The future of information access, part 2... from Jill Hurst-Wahl. Earlier this month, Sean Branagan, who is the director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship in the Newhouse School of Public Communications, asked that she guest lecture in his class on the topic of the future of information access. The class is seeking input from a wide variety of industries on what the future may hold and its impact on communications (e.g., news). In her 1.5 hour lecture, she spoke about the following ideas, some of which are evident in today's environment...
At the LITA forum Karen Coyle stated that classification and knowledge organization seem to have fallen off the library profession's radar. She says we have spent considerable amounts of time and money on making modifications to our cataloging rules (four times in about fifty years), but the discussion of how we organize information for our users has waned. She illustrates what is at least her impression of this through some searches done against Google Books using its nGram service.
"People think the Internet is the enemy of libraries. It is in fact a great boon. Not only can librarians do their jobs better, the abundant information on the web makes people curious – a prime motivator of library use. No the enemies of libraries is the twin dilemma posed by anti-intellectuals on one hand, and the small thinking hipster on the other."