Friday, June 08, 2007

De Lange Conference on Emerging Libraries

Kenny cites a Conference held March 5-7, 2007, at Rice University. Speakers include Brewster Kahle, John Seeley Brown (former head of Xerox PARC), Paul Ginsparg (arXiv), Michael Keller (Highwire Press founder), Donald Kennedy (ed-in-chief, Science)̲, Deanna Marcum, Harold Varmus (nobel recipient, re genetic basis of cancer), William Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering), and other major leaders in technology and library science.


The traditional concept of a library has been rendered obsolescent by the unprecedented confluence of the Internet, changes in scholarly publication models, increasing alliances between the humanities and the sciences, and the rise of large-scale digital library projects. The old ways of organizing and preserving knowledge to transmit our cultural and intellectual heritage have converged with the most advanced technologies of science and engineering and research methodologies. Such rapid and overwhelming changes to a millennia-old tradition pose significant challenges not only to university research libraries, but to every citizen. If the traditional library is undergoing a profound metamorphosis, it is not clear what new model will take its place. More information has been produced in the last several years than in the entire previous history of humanity, and most of this has been in digital format. Libraries are not storage places any more; they are less and less a place. The critical issues now include: How can that information be efficiently accessed and used? How do we extract knowledge from such an abundance of often poorly organized information? How might these enormous digital resources affect our concept of identity, our privacy, and the way we conduct business in the new century? Insight from many disciplines and perspectives is requisite to begin to understand this phenomenon to identify ways to help chart a future course.

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