Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Not where I work!.  (warning, pdf)


They are digging the gigantic hole for that thing right outside my window as I type.  (not pdf)

So, between that and having worked with rare books my whole life, you will have to forgive my steadfast optimism.  The fact is, the problem is not that books will be lost forever.  They will be technically more available to more people than ever before.  The real issue will become how to find out what is out there.  That is already the real problem with Google Books.  (FWIW, we are also working with Google Books. I can assure you our books are not being destroyed upon digitization.)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:20:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the copy on your link just further reinforced my point-of-view. It says U Chicago is the only American library to make the commitment to keep books on campus for the next 20 years. It also talks about the conventional wisdom which is anti-books.
by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:35:11 PM EST
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You stated as a matter of fact that libraries and books are disappearing, books are being warehoused at our major libraries, and that the future library will not be a home for books.  I've given you a link illustrating precisely the opposite.  Spin that new information however you like to make it conform to your chicken little view of the world, if you must, if you are absolutely incapable of accepting that you might have been a little precipitous in your reading of crystal balls.    

Meanwhile, I'm choosing to remain in reality.    

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:35:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, sorry to make you so defensive.

I didn't know that one library in Chicago--a library that touts itself as the only library in America committed to keeping books on campus, but even then only for 20 years, in the face of the anti-books prevailing wisdom (their words, not mine)--coulod save the world.

Meanwhile, all the librarians I've talked to see the writing on the while. Maybe that's why the New York Review of Books wrote an article on the matter. Maybe that's why libraries in American universities are right now up at arms with the budget cuts.

by Upstate NY on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 07:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have found some great stuff through Google books, whole texts of books that have been really important for my research, accessible from my desktop at home, saving me 80 miles of driving, gas and parking costs.  But that doesn't mean that there are things that have been missed because they were miscataloged (or that I couldnt' come up with the relevant search terms).

I frankly wish Google books would start scanning old periodicals, newspapers, broadsides, posters, maps, etc.

Of course, I would rather look at the real thing, but seeing it online helps to know what is worth really looking at.

I understand that there is a real problem concerning Google having a monopoly on internet access to certain books, but overall I think what they are doing is a good thing, especially with texts that are in the public domain.

I see this issue tied to the problems faced by the print media in general in the digital/internet "age."  There is probably one great solution out there just waiting to be found.

by jjellin on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:18:59 PM EST
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Google is a private company. While I find their legal takeover of other's copyrights highly questionable, I can't blame them for building a database.

The problem is that they'll have no competition.

There's also a concern as you note with the discarding of paratexts when a corporate entity decides to digitize books, whether we're talking about dust jackets, watermarks, variant paper stocks, marginalia, end-papers, broadsides, etc.

Those huge warehouses that will become obsolete will also house many unknown rare and precious books that are still in general stacks. You can go into any old library and putz around the old dusty shelves, and you'll find unbelievably rare books.

by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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