Friday, September 15, 2006

RE: Christine Pawley, "Libraries" article
Overall, I thought this article was a comprehensive and quick history with a minimum of comment on the facts to avoid clouding the information with too much opinion.
I don't think that the way libraries are changing to incorporate digital and electronic material threatens the traditional library as much as Dr. Pawley suggests. Certainly, the library has had to adapt to the expansion of digital and electronic media, and there is still an ongoing process as these new techologies play out for us. But, for many library patrons, (and this is based on my almost daily trip to the local library down the street to read the paper) the public library is the physical place of choice for gaining access to most of these materials.
I agree with the growing concern of preservation and conservation via the digital and/or microform world. Paper is relatively cheap and durable, although there are storage concerns, and you don't have to plug it in. But digital and microform storages can provide the average library user with so many more materials with the downside that they are problematic in their vulnerability to obscelence and are far more vulnerable, at this point, to the ravages of time.
It's also interesting to explore how the concept of collection management has evolved histrorically based on competing political and philosophical perspectives.

RE: D.D. Rusch-Feja's "Libraries: Digital, electronic, and hybrid"
I liked this article because it discusses the digital and electronic library and its expansion into the tradititonal model and the attempts to standardize and quantify how to organize this vast technology. The conept of the hybrid library is what we seem to be heading for as we try to synthesize this melange of print, electronic, media, photographic, musical, etc.
It's interesting to note just how much we currently take interoperability for granted in a typical search.
I agree with the concern that there is a need for quality control and validity checking, and I share the concern that the information we all value as a freely available resource to anyone who needs it will be increasingly restricted to those who can pay for it.

RE: Wayne E Wiegand, "Tunnel vision and blind spots: ..."
A very interesting presentation of a more philosophical perspective of the history of librarianship, asking of librarians the need for further research into the actual role of libraries instead of the perceived one.
Dr. Wiegand points out some grave inconsistencies in our assumptions about libraries as neutral, altuistic instutions for the benefit of everyone, and the lack of empirical information to better address these inconsistencies.
Leads in nicely with it's call for more in depth bridging between user study and library science to what Information Ecologies addresses next week.

RE: Tefko Saracevic "Information Science"
This article is a discussion of the basic schism between the scientific part of the field and, sort of, all the rest.
As Saracevic points out, there is little travel between the systems- based and human- based approaches to information science and, though there are some attempts, there is little being done to bring these two approaches together.
I agree with Julia, it's a collosal mistake to build a system for human users that doesn't take into account the humans using it.


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