Google Books

I’m nearly done with Steven Levy’s excellent history of Google and it’s got me thinking about Google Book Search/Print/Books and the settlement with the Authors Guild and APA.  I don’t want to get bogged down in the details of Google’s initial effort versus it’s eventual settlement because I think another important element is often […]

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 […]

Restrictions on eBook lending

Required reading:

I cannot over-emphasize that we are in trouble my friends. The lack of legislative leadership and advocacy in the last decade has created a situation where libraries have lost the rights to lending and preserving content that we have had for centuries. We have lost the right to buy a piece of […]

Response to K. G. Schneider’s (The Free Range Librarian) Post: Scilken’s Law and the Future of Libraries

Worthy read from the Free Range Librarian.  Schneider argues that … well, I’m not sure exactly what she’s arguing for.  She clearly is arguing against e-books, licensing as opposed to fair use, and any move toward shrinking physical collections.  In some respects I agree with her–it may be unlikely that public libraries will ever […]

Speaking of dying industries . . .

I don’t think books are a dying industry, but there are parallels worth thinking about.

Green Eggs and ham and Bubbles

Man, it seems like every discussion of e-readers I’ve ever heard inevitably leads to a “You can’t read in the bathtub” comment. I find it a bit disingenuous. Maybe e-readers won’t replace paperbacks anytime soon–they can still supplement hardcovers and textbooks, can’t they? Maybe magazines and newspapers, too. And I love to read but […]

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


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).

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