Monday, August 15, 2011

A Day Made of Glass

Posting to NGC4LIB

All,

Here is a fascinating video (advertisement) about what Corning Glass claims may happen in the near future. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38&vq=medium

Aside from the obvious Orwellian overtones, and the equally obvious class considerations (how rich/poor will you have to be to enter such a world?), this possible future is absolutely amazing. If we accept the possibility of this type of future, it is only logical to consider: how would libraries fit in? I have to confess the electronic book the fellow is reading looks absolutely great! That one I would buy right now! Some world such as this appears to be coming towards us sooner or later, whether we like it or not, ready-or-not.

Anyway, in such a world, this video clearly demonstrates the importance of "information" and "search", but we don't witness anybody having problems finding just the right dress, just the right video, just the right directions, just the right book, or just the right photo. We don't see anyone get fed-up with lousy search results and throw their expensive piece of glass on the ground to jump up and down on it. The only reason I can figure out why it is so easy for them, is that the searching has already been done, as I mentioned in my podcast on search (http://catalogingmatters.blogspot.com/2010/12/cataloging-matters-podcast-no-7-search.html): so, the woman walks into the store and the selection for her clothes has already been made based on her previous selections, the selections of people similar to her, and so on. The selection of the videos is based on their previous choices, correlated with the choices of similar people. The correct directions are based on all kinds of information coming from everywhere.

Why would someone need a library for information in such a world? So that when a person finds an article or ebook or movie, etc. through some kind of variant on the above search, it is the library that will pay the publishers and other copyright holders? Of course, that reduces libraries to a mere budget line--something that can be changed very easily and quickly with the stroke of a pen. On the other hand, why would someone physically go to a library? As an idyllic escape?

Finally, there is no indication of why the man is reading an older edition (seems to be 1st edition) of Well's "The Time Machine" or how he found it in the first place. It occurred to me that it's because he has spent all of his money on the glass and can only afford public domain books!

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