Monday, April 12, 2010

Comment to Do libraries understand the future? Or how to get there? on Alexander Johannesen's blog ShelterIt

Your post and danielh's were thought-provoking. While I want to defend the current library infrastructure, I will save that to comment on library philosophy. I believe there is a current library philosophy that is agreed to by almost all librarians. The problem is that this philosophy is based on 19th century models, or at the latest, pre-1960.

Those "giant" librarians: Panizzi, Cutter, Jewett, Dewey, Ranganathan, up to Lubetzky in the 1960s or early 1970s, and there haven't really been any people of their stature since then. Certainly not since the WWW. Librarians have no equivalent of a Steve Jobs or a Tim Berners-Lee, or a Richard Stallman.

As a result, librarians have icons from the time of the pre-web. There is a part of me that thinks that there must be a general catastrophe before librarians finally realize that they are facing deep and fundamental changes.

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