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Category Archives: Libraries

Are We There Yet? Some predictions for the future of libraries – from 1901

Barbara Fister – Inside Higher Ed: “As I was idly poking into library history, I came across something that surprised me. In a 1901 conference proceeding, Melvil Dewey predicted this would happen by 1926:

Books, except a few rarities, will be regarded less as fetiches [sic] to-be protected with a kind of sacred awe, and more for use. When a volume cost as much as a village, this reverence and jealous watchfulness were justified. Now that it can be bought for the price of a single meal, such reverence is a mediaeval survival. Students will cut up books freely for notes and scraps.

Librarians are known to quote Ranganathan’s laws, including “Books are for use” but this is going a bit far. The context for this prediction: there were hot debates going on about whether libraries should allow browsing in open stacks. Those who supported the idea argued that books were no longer so special, rare, and sacred that they had to be protected from the public. Or even, apparently, from vandalism. Dewey, in addition to being an anti-Semite and harasser of women, was a serial entrepreneur fascinated with business and big ideas. He wanted libraries to be efficient, cost-effective, and (though they didn’t use the term back then) a good return on investment. He had plenty to say about how to run libraries – including that bookish people need not apply, but rather libraries should be directed by “men of affairs” who would “throw into their work the same administrative skill that has made possible the successes of the captains of industry and commerce.” The entire essay is in many ways fascinating in that so many of his predictions seem fairly current:

  • Access to information matters more than ownership
  • New technologies should be harnessed to provide information services (he was really excited about telephones)
  • Since it’s fruitless to try to own everything libraries should reduce their collections to items that get lots of use and cooperate with large research libraries to preserve print collections.
  • Libraries and universities should become involved in academic publishing
  • Libraries are more than just books (he thought libraries should provide illustrations, which could be more informative than texts, and include museums; no mention of 3D printers, though)..”

BRASS reveals Outstanding Business Reference Sources list

‘Each year, the Business Reference Sources Committee of BRASS selects the outstanding business reference sources published since May of the previous year. This year, the committee reviewed nine entries; of these, two were designated as “Outstanding,” six as “Notable,” and one as a “Notable New Edition.” To qualify for these designations, each title must meet… Continue Reading

YouTube Adopts ISNI ID for Artists & Songwriters

“YouTube is now a Registration Agency for the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), the ISO certified global standard number for identifying millions of contributors to creative works and those active in their distribution. YouTube is the first ISNI registration agency in the music space. YouTube will request an ISNI, a unique identifier, to be assigned… Continue Reading

Search Tips by Category –

This combination FAQ and search tips site is a keeper – via the experts and – thank you – Continue Reading

New Book Celebrates the History of the Library of Congress

“A new book from Library of Congress Historian John Y. Cole, “America’s Greatest Library: An Illustrated History of the Library of Congress,” tells the story of the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and how it came to be the world’s largest library. Librarian of Congress Carla D. Hayden calls the Library “a place where you… Continue Reading

NYT – Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories

You can whisper the answer if need be (do you still write with pencils?), but I certainly hope you will enjoy this article, which is both an essay accompanied by stunningly beautiful photographs, and a lesson in the art, craft and history of pencil making, by the General Pencil Company of New Jersey. I have… Continue Reading

Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World

Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World, an online newsletter published regularly by Library and Archives Canada (LAC), highlights issues pertaining to government and recordkeeping practices in the public and private sectors. January 2018, vol. 5, no. 10. ISSN: 1916-5714 [h/t Library Boy] “Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World, an online newsletter published regularly by Libraryand… Continue Reading

Rebecca B. Rankin: Early Advocate for Public Access to Government Information

NYPR Archives & Preservation: “Rebecca B. Rankin was the Director of the Municipal Reference Library for the City of New York. Her work included the promotion of resources and services of the library to its clients. When budget cuts forced her to curtail the traditional publications used for publicity and outreach, Rankin took the pioneering… Continue Reading

LIS News – Ten Stories That Shaped 2017

LIS NEWS – Can you believe it’s almost 2018? That means it’s time to look back at some of the notable library-related stories from the past year. 10. Librarians Fight Fake News The problems with fake news caused many of us to revamp our web evaluation handouts into guides for spotting bogus information sources. 9.… Continue Reading

OCLC The Realities of Research Data Management

“The Realities of Research Data Management is a four-part series that explores how research universities are addressing the challenge of managing research data throughout the research lifecycle. In this series, we examine the context, influences, and choices higher education institutions face in building or acquiring RDM capacity—in other words, the infrastructure, services, and other resources… Continue Reading

What Can Be Done to Protect Endangered Government Data?

“The federal government has made significant strides towards making vast amounts of government data freely available to the public, and businesses, researchers, civil society groups, journalists, and many others have put open data to good use. However, recent events suggest that some open government data may be at risk. For example, in February 2017, the… Continue Reading

New on LLRX – The State of Law Library eBooks 2017-18 Part Three: What Law Libraries are Doing

Via LLRX – The State of Law Library eBooks 2017-18 Part Three: What Law Libraries are Doing – In the third installment of her series, Ellyssa Kroski discusses the hybrid model at NYLI and how her team is utilizing aggregators and individual publisher platforms as well as subscription models and patron-driven acquisitions to create the… Continue Reading