Thursday, September 28, 2006

William Hoffman on Library IT Transformation

William Hoffman, founding executive director of the Foundation for New Business and developer of University of Minnesota's MBBNet, led a SCOPA forum on the topic: "New Knowledge Frontiers in a Flat World: A Campus Perspective", with Tom Friedman's The World is Flat serving as conceptual backdrop.

Some highlights: Johannes Trithemius exhorted monks to continue tradition of copying manuscripts in his 1492 book In Praise of Scribes, but had the book printed to ensure wide distribution. See E. Eisentein's The Printing Press as Agent of Change.

Andrew Odlyzko, now at University of Minnesota, writes in his chapter of Open Access that 7% of university budgets are now going to IT department, with only 2% going to libraries. Cf. "Envisioning a transformed University" in Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 2005. In order to survive over long term, libraries need to convey to visitors: "You have just entered a technologically superior facility." This article, by Duderstadt et al., came out of the Forum on Information Technology and Research Universities, a project of the American Academies that was formerly disbanded in 2006.

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