A local habitation and a name:libraries, places, and networks Presentation to Cornell University Library Academic Assembly, 3 April 2003 Lorcan Dempsey, VP Research, OCLChttp://www.oclc.org/research/
Overview • Some pictures and text – Virginia Woolf and the library in the space of places • Some issues in the space of flows !
When, early in this century, Virginia Woolf needed to find out the truth about women, she headed to the Round Reading Room of the British Museum, for ''if truth is not to be found on the shelves of the British Museum, where,'' she asked, ''is truth?'' Truth, it pains me to report, decamped last month to a new library near St. Pancras Station, loosed from its moorings in the British Museum after an intermittently happy marriage of nearly two and a half centuries. … Among divorces, it was perhaps one of the more easily predictable, but nonetheless painful to those of us whose inner landscape has been irreversibly redrawn. Angeline Goreau. New York Times, Nov 9 1997
I have only to reach my hand up to the bookshelves above my desk and pick out a book, and open it, and plunge my nose between its pages, to retrieve that smell. The book is The Captain’s Death Bed and other essays, by Virginia Woolf, published in 1950, which I bought a couple of years ago at the Belfast Public Libraries’ annual sale. When I inhale, I am transported back to the 1950s and the Falls Road Library, where I get the allied aroma of polished linoleum and varnished shelving. I detect a gleam of brass here, too, coming from the handles of the big doors, but also from the little pulls of the filing-cabinet drawers, and I wonder are they implicated in the overall smell. Ciaran Carson. This is what libraries are for’. The Dublin Review, Autumn 2001
… the growing explosion of information … creates a reactionary tendency on the part of readers to stress the familiarity and relative immutability of static texts, such as paper books. This impulse is particularly strong with respect to literature which, as an important repository of a society's identity, is a domain to which overwhelmed members of the society will turn for security, and which is consequently seen as most threatened by the information explosion. In our fin-de-siècle world, typified by informational and societal variety and indeterminacy, people's needs for dependable institutions are reinforced…. Centripetal Textuality. C. Aaron Potter. Victorian Studies Volume 41, Number 4
Libraries in the space of places have … • …been vertically organised around the management of places • multiple redundant repositories. • … facilitated particular economies of presence and patterns of experience • ‘inner landscape’/‘a house I grew up in’ • … manifested the institutional role of libraries • authoritative, well-understood and persistent agency. • Card catalog, book, “people’s need for dependable institutions”
lab books PDAs campus portal learning management systems exhibitions course materialtext book new scholarly resources readinglists Virtual reference Institutional repository Aggregations Digital collections Licensed collections Catalog E-reserve CatalogingILL Library serviceenvironment user environments resource environment
Collections grid Books Journals Newspapers Gov. docs CD, DVD Maps Scores Freely-accessible web resources Open source software Newsgroup archives • Research and learning materials • ePrints/tech reports • Learning objects • Courseware • E-portfolios • Research data Special collections Rare books Local/Historical newspapers Local history materials Archives & Manuscripts, Theses & dissertations stewardship high low low uniqueness uniqueness high
Manage commodity materials and services - cost. Streamline discovery to delivery for print (bought) and digital (licensed) materials Portalization and resource sharing Management intelligence – collection management and analysis (print collections) Incentive to preserve? Institutional digital content management Immature (diverse metadata creation practice -- hierarchical description, multiple standards and practices, diverse content management approaches) Disclose metadata for harvest? Extend knowledge organization approaches? Incentive to preserve
Within and across institutions Services built across institutions How will we support this (NSDL) Directions Links, … Emerging interest in harvesting Services?Access and content Z39.50, OpenURL,custom Catalog revisited, Appropriate copy
Below the line There is growing appreciation among libraries that unique or rare materials are valuable research and learning resources have been underutilized. There is a growing interest in digitizing cultural heritage materials as it offers opportunities for releasing their value in new ways as a way of disclosing the memory and identity of communities. Research and learning behavior is increasingly entering the network space Library resources need to be available at the appropriate stage within the learning or research environment New forms of engagement and support. Research and learning outputs will present major management and curatorial issues Institutions and faculty are interested in ‘disclosing’ research and learning materials as part of the scholarly enterprise (OAI)
The Archival Research Center is a direct outgrowth of the belief that primary resource materials should be a major focal point of instruction and research. …. However, traditional access to these materials is cumbersome and labor-intensive and most institutions do not allow copying. …Digitizing these materials keeps them alive and relevent for modern users … (ARL report)
Knowledge bank – OSU – in planning April 26 2002. A proposal for the development of an OSU knowledge bank
Centralization and decentralization • Cataloging/metadata • Archiving • Harvesting • Virtual reference • Consort at what level? • Incentives?
Presence We will, I believe, plot our actions and allocate ourresources within the framework of a new economyof presence. In conducting our daily transactionswe will find ourselves constantly consulting the benefits of the different grades of presence thatare now available to us, and weighing these againstthe costs. William J Mitchell. E-topia. 2000.
Hubs All networks produced privileged places at theirjunctions and access points. William J Mitchell. e-topia. 2000. … the web pages to which we prefer to link are not ordinary nodes. They are hubs. The better known they are, the more links point to them. … We prefer hubs. Alberto-Laszlo Barabasi. Linked. 2002.
lab books PDAs campus portal learning management systems exhibitions course materialtext book new scholarly resources readinglists
Hub • Create hub? • Project services into other hubs • Reconfigureservices –fine-grained
Presence The dialecticof place and network Analysis, linking, comparing, manipulation, .. Archive Agora Services
Presences Agora The monumental, spectacular and special Third place – social fabric Social exchange and learning Commons - commonwealth Trust – the ties that bind Service Fine grained Engage with research and learning Recombinant Archive Distributed collection requiring different forms of attention
Supporting scholarly behavior in humanities …contextual mass. (not the canon and top scholarly journals) Iterative reading? personal, full-text collections Wide reading and chaining? federated collections anchored by bibliographies Collaborating? collection communities Searching and browsing? “rich” finding aids that cross institutionsand fields of study Tracking of reading, searching, and writing Carole Palmer, various
Institutions Persistant patterns of social organization with understood goals.
Roles in flux Learning management Computing Digital scholarship Library Press Repositories Portal envy Support Promise of ICT greater than fragmented organization can deliver
U W digital scholarship (IMHO) • Library touches all staff • Library is already funded • Library is integral to research and scholarship and needs to extend that role • Institutional repository services vital • Role as technology and research partner as well as support • Digital concierge
Brand in a network age • Library as a partner in the scholarly endeavour • Understanding and supporting research and learning behaviors • Responsible to the scholarly record • Creator of social places.
Sometimes we will use networks to avoid going places. But sometimes, still, we will go places to network. W.J.Mitchell