5 Myths About the ‘Information Age’ – Robert Darnton – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Not much I can argue with here.  I do think his five points have a bit of the straw man to them, but not dramatically so.  My comments, point by point:

We need better statistics and a few more years perspective, but my guess is the trend go forward will be for less printed […]

The Changing Nature of the Catalog : A Response to Calhoun, Mann, and Yee

The Changing Nature of the Catalog – A Response to Calhoun, Mann, and Yee (PDF)

The central premise of Calhoun’s report is that technology has “created an era of discontinuous change in research libraries—a time when the cumulated assets of the past do not guarantee future success” (2006, p. 5).  Calhoun’s perspective is that this notion applies directly to traditional library cataloging.  Yee argues that traditional cataloging is fundamental to the value of libraries (2007).  Mann makes the case that research libraries’ primary mission is to serve the specific needs of serious scholarship (2006).  Each is right in their own way.  Mann and Yee, though, fail to recognize the changes that the coming of the Information Age has wrought on the world outside libraries.  Far too much valuable information is outside the reach of traditional catalogs.  Libraries must embrace technology to extend the grasp of catalogs beyond local holdings.

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Karen Calhoun: The Changing Nature of the Catalog and its Integration with Other Discovery Tools

Preface:

I found this wonderful quote in the midst of writing the below entry. I think it’s wonderfully apropos to the discussion.

Those who assume hypotheses as first principles of their speculations … may indeed form an ingenious romance, but a romance it will still be. –Roger Cotes, Preface to Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Second Ed., 1713 (though I found the quote in Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver)

Calhoun, K. (2006). The Changing Nature of the Catalog and its Integration with Other Discovery Tools. Prepared for the Library of Congress.

[Technology has] created an era of discontinuous change in research libraries—a time when the cumulated assets of the past do not guarantee future success. …  The catalog is in decline, its processes and structures are unsustainable, and change needs to be swift. … Notwithstanding widespread expansion of digitization projects, ubiquitous e-journals, and a market that seems poised to move to e-books, the role of catalog records in discovery and retrieval of the world’s library collections seems likely to continue for at least a couple of decades and probably longer (p.5).

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