Libraries are for Use

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Douglas County and CLC receive LSTA grant to expand eVoke project for digital content purchasing and lending | No Shelf Required


Douglas County and CLC receive LSTA grant to expand eVoke project for digital content purchasing and lending | No Shelf Required.

I have been intrigued by this project ever since I returned to librarianship (OK, that was only 2 years ago, but still…).  I believe it is the model of the future of libraries.  As the recent kurfluffle surrounding Web of Science’s planned (threatened?) withdrawal from discovery services demonstrates, libraries have become too dependent on third-parties for serving up the electronic content.

Imagine if our book shelves were rented by the publishers or ProQuest or EBSCO, and these shelves had all sorts of features like pull-out shelves for reading, automatic re-shelving, instant photocopying, etc.  But while we may assume we “own” the content, we really don’t.  The vendors promise perpetual access, but that has never been tested.  We know companies have cycles – sometimes the life-cycle ends.  The shelves are closed.  Our books are now unavailable to us or our patrons.  What then?

I believe that by pursuing infrastructures that allow enable libraries to own not only the content but also said infrastructures, we will be able to continue our mission of making the world’s knowledge accessible to our patrons.

Don’t get me wrong – I believe in the value of free enterprise and the importance of for-profit companies in driving innovation.  I believe that efforts such as the eVoke are merely the first steps, and I would fully expect that a for-profit company be willing and able to develop this for, well, profit.  But by selling libraries these infrastructures, and not leasing them.

 

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This entry was posted on November 22, 2013 by in Information Resources, Intriguing Ideas and tagged .
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