A Fun Discussion Moderated by Gregg Silvis[There were two of these sessions and they both ran a bit differently. Gregg ran this as a discussion group and I captured as many of the comments as I could. Audience comments are marked â€œcomments,â€ my comments are in brackets, and Greggâ€™s words are as is. I came in a bit late to this one. The group was discussing what will happen when books are all online. Surprisingly, not all the comments were negative. I think that many of us realize that this will be our reality in some fashion. I think there will still be paper books, but we will have more options for format type then we have now because so many things will be digital.]
Comment from the audience, Jason Griffey: [paraphrase] If we have that many things online, we can not traditionally catalog items. Self tagging works better and people like it. LibraryThing and del.icio.us have taught us this.
Comment: Originally libraries were created around the notion of a scarcity of resources and access to resources. Now we have an overload and people can find what they want. There are 30,000 things that might be what someone wants. We have trouble figuring out what people want.
Comment: Who is going to be using our catalogs in 20 years? Students are already expecting full text everything. We have to assume that everything will be electronic.
Comment: Books can fit on computers and phones. Libraries as a place for books is a vapor. [He says in a brilliant accent.]
The library is an ambient place. People still want a place to go.
Comment: Libraries can still provide access through technology. In some communities, it is the main place that people do access technology.
Lexis Nexis and West Law have the best indexing in the world. They use people to do their indexing.
In response to a comment from Jason saying that Japan and China have less of a digital divide because they use high power cell phones for everything.: You can fit all of Japan inside Wyoming. I donâ€™t know; I just made that up. [hilarious]
Comment, Jonathan Blackburn: the library is a place for people. The catalog is more then just a representation of things; it is a meta representation that sits on top of the thing. [interesting]
Comment, from a guy who works on OCLCâ€™s Content DM: Libraries can help publish content. There is a need to have a repository for different kinds of formats.
We need to help the users create information.
Comment: What drives people into the library?
Comment: If people are still accessing our information online, they are still using us, even if they never come into their building.[Jonathan, who is sitting next to me, says I am an information toddler because I want what I want now and not later. He is right]
Comment: Libraries should disappear completely. Stop teaching me how to search more effectively. I do not know. I do not have time for that. Boolean this and Boolean that. I feel overwhelmed. There should just be a label that says information is here. [Well that would be lovely.]
Comment: Undergraduates work is junk. Not everything a student produces is for anything other then learning. We have come to worship any produced information and we need to balance that.
Comment, Jonathan Blackburn: The relevance of libraries relies on the relevance of librarians. If the library is a place for people and not for things, then what value to we add to the conversation? What assistance can we add? How can we facilitate conversations between our users and other users?
Comment: We have all been control freaks and saying we have the best information, but information is moving beyond us. If libraries are going to stay relevant we have to decide what role we are going to play.
Google is beating us at our own digitization game.
Copyright – something is going to have to happen to copyright. People are violating copyright all the time and copyright is so extreme.
Comment, Andrew Pace: Publishers make us look like laissez faire.
Comment: Public libraries are the gateway drug to violating copyright. [oh, that is brilliant!]
There are ads in magazines all the time but we react differently when they are online.