The cultural and scholarly record

Memory institutions redux: pluralizing memories and a stay against forgetting

Pluralized memories We are now used to memory institutions as a way of collectively referring to libraries, archives and museums. However, memory, as we know, is complicated, and I sometimes hesitate before using the term. The complications are certainly alive in this Decade of Centenaries period in Ireland.  One is often reminded of how alternative and contested memories … Continue reading Memory institutions redux: pluralizing memories and a stay against forgetting

A reservoir not an ocean – visualizing and operationalizing collective collections

When I think of the Google Books initiative now, three things stick with me. The first is simply what an audacious idea it was – to digitize all the books. The second is that without it, the book literature is less accessible than the web literature, which seems a pity. Google Books has allowed fine-grained discovery over … Continue reading A reservoir not an ocean – visualizing and operationalizing collective collections

The facilitated collection

Collections have been central to library identity – we have discussed how library collections are changing in a network environment elsewhere (Collection Directions: The Evolution of Library Collections and Collecting – PDF). Support for the discovery, curation and creation of resources in research and learning practices continues to evolve. In this blog entry I discuss … Continue reading The facilitated collection

The university’s curatorial role

I made a note in these pages a couple of years ago about the University of Edinburgh’s mission statement. The University’s mission is the creation, dissemination and curation of knowledge. The occasion was Chris Rusbridge’s justified pleasure at seeing the mission changed to include ‘curation’. At the time, Chris was the director of The Digital … Continue reading The university’s curatorial role

Using Wikipedia

We still don’t appear to know what to make of Wikipedia. Consider these two cases. First, Edward Glaeser includes a reference to Wikipedia in the acknowledgements to his new book, Triumph of the city. Following common practices, Wikipedia is not listed in the bibliography or citations, because any Wikipedia fact was verified with a more … Continue reading Using Wikipedia

The library network and the scholarly record

The library community is a highly interconnected one. Networks are motivated both by library mission and effective management of resources. This trend will accelerate as the Internet favors shared services, and libraries will see more benefit in building such shared services. The Hathi Trust is an important example. The growth of interest in sharing library … Continue reading The library network and the scholarly record

Managing down collections …

I was interested to read this from Karen Schneider a while ago: “Centralized mass storage for legacy print materials (paper-based books and journals) is by far the most under-observed trend in libraries today”. I agree, with the friendly qualification that the trend is about managing the relationship between local, mass storage and emerging digitised resources. … Continue reading Managing down collections …

Emerging network level management of the collective print collection

One of the recurrent themes in these pages is that systemwide coordination of print materials is necessary as libraries begin to retire collections – to offsite storage or removing them altogether. There are various drivers here: the demands on space, the emergence of a digital corpus, the cost of managing a resource that releases progressively … Continue reading Emerging network level management of the collective print collection

Outside-in and inside-out redux

I have been using this phrase, outside-in and inside-out, to discuss a contrast in information management practices that is becoming more important. Here is how I spoke about it a little while ago in these pages: Think, for example, of a distinction between outside-in resources, where the library is buying or licensing materials from external … Continue reading Outside-in and inside-out redux

QOTD: a new Alexandria

An interesting article – Toward a new Alexandria: imagining the future of libraries – by Lisbet Rausing has just appeared in The New Republic. It discusses the continuity of the scholarly record in a richly allusive text. I sensed three strands. First, the scholarly record is evermore diffused through media and formats, embracing source materials, … Continue reading QOTD: a new Alexandria