Saturday, February 1, 2014

The internet's first and next 30 years

In "The first 30 years of the internet through the lens of an academic library," Beth Sandora Namachchivaya claims, “The internet is arguably the single most significant technology advancement to occur at the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries.” She supports this claim through examples from three time slices, 1982-1991 or the “startup” decade, 1992-2002 or the “discovery, access, and organization” decade, and 2003-2012 or the decade of “integration and interdependence” (624-625).
Through providing the reader with a 30-year history of library technologies and systems, in less than 20 pages, Namachchivaya supports her claim and gives the reader context by focusing on an academic library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
She concludes the article with, “For libraries, the internet’s greatest strength is, paradoxically, its greatest weakness: its openness and chaotic nature makes it a natural environment for support for access to published and unpublished text, gray literature, reality media, twitter feeds, blogs, the making of social and political history – all the content that libraries typically collect, and that scholars integrate into their research. The opportunities for individuals, groups, and organizations to contribute to the utility and the market around the internet are vast. This openness also contributes to one of the biggest challenges for libraries – the fleeting nature of the content and services that are built around it” (639).
Keeping this conclusion in mind, I’d like to expand on a few sentences referencing Brett Sutton, “Sutton also had the foresight to incorporate digital preservation into the many useful roles that the internet might support in libraries, suggesting that research libraries could play a key stewardship role on behalf of smaller libraries in the development of repositories for documents, software, journals, and other research content” (631). What is happening now that will improve the libraries, archives, and museums of the future and who is at the forefront?
This question led me to Alan Inouye’s “The Future of Libraries at Thirty Thousand Feet” from the fall of 2013. Inouye comments libraries need to be the centers of content production (12). He goes on to include libraries as publishers and as one of our few noncommercial places the public trusts. Viewing libraries as places of production fits with the progression of the internet in terms of a way to connect people to not only each other but also to the information needed to produce what they find important, meaningful, or necessary. Is production what is happening now that will improve the development of libraries, archives, and museums of the future or is it something else? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. What do you think is happening now that will serve library and information services 30 years from now? Who do you feel is leading the field of library and information services? Why may production be where information services are headed?
I look forward to reading your comments on these questions as well as anything else you’d like to propose related to current practices and how they will serve the future of library and information services.
Works Cited
Alan S. Inouye. "The Future of Libraries at Thirty Thousand Feet: Strategy and Public Policy." Young Adult Library Services 12:1 (2013), pp. 9-12.

Beth Sandore Namachchivaya, "The first 30 years of the internet through the lens of an academic library," Library Hi Tech 30:4 (2012), pp. 623-642. 

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