Announcing Online Chat Session: 'Digital Libraries of the 21st Century'

Deborah Harrington DHARRING at
Mon Oct 9 22:19:25 EDT 2000

The Texas A&M University Libraries welcomes your participation in our virtual learning community available @ The Academic Libraries of the 21st Century (  The purpose of this project is to provide a channel that stimulates creative thoughts and ideas for envisioning and planning for academic libraries of the future.

During November, the Academic Libraries of the 21st Century will host its third live chat session, featuring experts from major digital library initiatives around the U.S.:

Topic:  'Digital Libraries of the 21st Century'

Moderator:  Hal Hall, Head, EDMS, Texas A&M University

Featured Panelists:

Dilawar Grewal
Texas A&M University Digital Library

Charles F. Thomas
Digital Projects Coordinator
University of Minnesota Libraries

John Ober
Education and Strategic Innovation
California Digital Library

Date:  November 3, 2000

Time:   3:00-4:30  Eastern
            2:00-3:30  Central
            1:00-2:30  Mountain
            12:00-1:30  Pacific

Register via the project website: 

Click on the link 'Register'

Registration is free, chat session limited to 100 seats.

Registration confirmation and passwords will be distributed by e-mail on Monday, October 23rd.

Participant's comments may be selected and archived at: 

Session Content:

In general terms, the roles of digital libraries in the 21st century fall into three categories:  aggregator, creator, and gatekeeper.  Each role is critical for libraries to succeed, and all hinge on libraries developing viable market or niche services for themselves in a world filled with commercial competition.

Digital libraries (and most large libraries are digital to a degree) already function as aggregators.  Indeed, the history of libraries is a history of aggregation of resources and manipulation of the physical and bibliographic content.  In our 21st century world, the focus of library functions is managing access to intellectual content, rather than storage and maintenance of physical objects.   

The role of creator may be more limited for many libraries, as issues of ownership of intellectual property change rapidly.  At the same time, the breadth of options will increase as libraries look to new roles, such as digitizing and organizing unique and valuable paper-based collections, including photographs and other uniquely held materials, or digitizing, in three dimensions, other museum-type collections, including  zoological type collections or archaeological artifacts.

The 'gatekeeper' or qualitative role is both the most controversial and the most potentially beneficial.  With, literally, millions of choices, seekers of information need guidance to reliable, high quality resources.  Historically, this role was filled by 'selection':  acquiring material of quality, and not purchasing inferior material.  In modern academia, 'selection' has been outsourced to vendors of books.  It is not easily applied to the current 'electronic publishing' world, to say nothing of the chaotic and gigantic Web.  This qualitative role remains, however, a critical function in the 21st Century library, and offers the greatest opportunity for survival as a profession.

We look forward to your participation in our session,

The Academic Libraries of the 21st Century Website Project Team
Charles Gilreath
Tommy Armstrong
John Paul Fullerton
Deborah Harrington
Xiaodong Li
Daniel Xiao

Texas A&M University Libraries, Digital Libraries Group
Charles Gilreath
Joan Goodbody
Dilawar Grewal
Hal Hall
Xiaodong Li
Elka Tenner

Deborah Harrington, Business Librarian
Texas A&M University
FAX: 979-862-2977
E-mail: dharrington at 
Envision the future of Academic Libraries! 
Sign up for November 3rd chat session on 'The Digital Libraries of the 21st Century!

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