[Web4lib] mass digitization symposium

Karen Coyle kcoyle at kcoyle.net
Tue Mar 21 15:59:54 EST 2006


Thanks for the great write-up of the symposium.

This statement from your write-up gives me an idea of how we 
should/could distinguish libraries from products like Google/Yahoo/MSN, 

 " Finally, he advocated libraries figure out how to harness the 
"collective intelligence" of users to enhance the use of books and to 
generate new knowledge. He pointed to Google's PageRank, Ebay, 
Amazon.com, and Craig's List as websites exploring and using collective 
intelligence. "

Collective intelligence and user-driven value-added stuff is great, but 
it's only great the way the so-called "free market" is great -- it works 
really well for the people for whom it works, and everyone else is SOL. 
OK, that's a harsh way to put it, but Google's measure of success is 
popularity; a library's measure of success is how well it serves its 
community, even those people who might not be able to contribute greatly 
to the collective intelligence. I worry about the kind of 
competitiveness that I see in that intellectual community (ever try to 
get your thread read on Slashdot?). The real challenge, I think, is how 
you can bring along the folks who aren't going to be blogging and 
posting and social-bookmarking, and find a way for them to benefit from 
the work of others. I'm not sure how we do this, but it has something to 
do with providing user education as well as reference-type services that 
function in this new environment. It means creating new services, not 
just getting people online. I worry about the gap between the digerati 
and the other people served by libraries. Even academic libraries have a 
rather large population that will not find its way easily into the info 
space, especially if it is dominated by the best and the brightest. I 
guess it all comes down to service.


Eric Lease Morgan wrote:

> I have written up a travel log describing my experiences at a recent  
> mass digitization symposium called Scholarship and Libraries in  
> Transition: A Dialog about the Impacts of Mass Digitization Projects  
> sponsored by the good folks at the University of Michigan. From the  
> text:
>   In short, the symposium facilitated quite a number of
>   presentations and panel discussions about mass digitization.
>   Discussion topics ranged from mass digitization's impacts on
>   libraries to possibilities for scholarship to changes in
>   changes in publishing to economic effects to public policy
>   issues. Most of the discussions were framed by the Google
>   Print project, and just about everybody provided their point
>   of view regarding the effect of Google on the academy...
>   ...After the time of mass digitization a library's
>   collection will not be as important as it is today.
>   Everybody will be carrying the collection around in their
>   pocket. Instead what people will need are sets of services
>   -- tools -- to apply against the collections making the
>   content more useful. In a digital environment the things of
>   traditional librarianship (books) will give way to their
>   content and this makes services increasingly important...
>   http://infomotions.com/musings/mass-digitization/

Karen Coyle / Digital Library Consultant
kcoyle at kcoyle.net http://www.kcoyle.net
ph.: 510-540-7596
fx.: 510-848-3913
mo.: 510-435-8234

More information about the Web4lib mailing list