[Table of Contents]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [ARSCLIST] Two other N.Y. Times article on a different type of digitizing

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Miller" <karl.miller@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>   My question is, what is the role of the library when the information is
without an object?  How does a library serve the public without an object to
loan? Should libraries buy iPods and ebooks and load them with files?  Should
libraries be concerned with buying downloads of music? Should some library, say
Library of Congress, buy one set of the complete iTunes and hold it for future
generations? If it did, what should be the limitations on public access?
Well, here the term "object" simply becomes a bit more abstract! The library
DOES have objects to loan...but these "objects" are simply colletions of
digital bits/bytes which can provide...with the necessary hardware or
software...the information in question. So...

1) It is very possible that at some future point the "bricks & mortar"
library (and that concept) as well as the physical objects it loaned
to clients...will become technologically obsolete. As storage capabilities
and computer speeds increase, the "library" could be an Internet web
site with FTP capability...making available virtually every known
"piece of information" for a (presumably) time-limited download!

2) 21st century libraries will have...rather than iPods, usw...VERY
large capacity server machines, with hard drives (or whatever replaces
those) containing terabytes of "information" in the form of digital
files. What remains to be established is the format(s) of those files.

3) Since the creators and/or compilers of this information will (and
should) be rewarded for their efforts, the concept of "copyright"
will...MUST...continue to exist. Limitations on public access, then,
will effectively be the same as to-day's...the client can access, but
NOT save on his/her/its own machine...the information held by the
library. It is very possibly that less-limited access will be made
available upon payment, which will then be credited to the copyright
owners (presumably the creators).

4) "Archives" will consist primarily (the solid-object originals will
also presumably be preserved under ideal conditions) of two forms.
The first will be massive-capacity hard-drives (1 TERABYTE drives are
now being offered)...and the second will be more-or-less "permanent"
storage on some sort of floppy/CD/DVD/?? object.

Thirty years ago, personal computers were but a "maybe someday"
rumour. Twenty years ago, they were available...but at very high
prices and very limited (2MHz speed, 640K memory) capacity. Ten
years ago, I bought a Pentium I MMX machine, with a 300KB hard
drive and 233MHz speed, for about $700. Right now, I can buy
a Pentium dual-core machine...1TB hard drive, 2GHz speed...for
just over $1000. And...in late 1965, I bought a 1966 Mustang
convertible for $2806...and white bread was a dime a loaf.
To-day, an equivalent Mustang would cost me about $25,000...
and I can get bread for $1/loaf.


Steven C. Barr

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents]