(1PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

(h/t to Tom Garrett over at Archival Digital Issues.)

Sound familiar?

Karen Koyle sez:


There is evidence that many individuals and organizations in the library world do not support the work taking place to develop a next generation of the library cataloging rules. The authors describe the tensions existing between those advocating an incremental change to cataloging process and others who desire a bolder library entry into the digital era.


Libraries have lost their place as primary information providers, surpassed by more agile (and in many cases wealthier) purveyors of digital information delivery services. Although libraries still manage materials that are not available elsewhere, the library’s approach to user service and the user interface is not competing successfully against services like Amazon or Google. If libraries are to avoid further marginalization, they need to make a fundamental change in their approach to user services. The library’s signature service, its catalog, uses rules for cataloging that are remnants of a long departed technology: the card catalog. Modifications to the rules, such as those proposed by the Resource Description and Access (RDA) development effort, can only keep us rooted firmly in the 20th, if not the 19th century. A more radical change is required that will contribute to the library of the future, re-imagined and integrated with the chosen workflow of its users.

NYC has a splendid main public library (on 42nd Street) and good-ish branch libraries.  But I haven’t noticed any modernization in the past years, in the sense this writer is referring to.


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  1. … to be mighty familiar.

    I used to do volunteer work at our school library, I knew how to rebind books and such.  I’ve always loved libraries.

  2. during solar flares.

    • Edger on December 28, 2010 at 01:41

    My dad used to come and drag me out of the base libraries when he was in the Air Force – he knew he could always find me there and it used to piss him off that I would spend my time in there instead of joining up with the air cadets and marching around hangars with a blank stare.

    Then I spent nearly a decade selling Britannica and people would sneer about me being an “encyclopedia salesman” instead of doing something useful like joining the military or selling vacuum cleaners.

    Last year my muscle bound little brother “charles at-last” the ex-paratrooper, when he asked me what I was studying in college, said with a perplexed look on his face – “But… what’s Systems Analysis?”

    I said “look it up”.

    Heh, indeed.

  3. but we dont talk shop much. heh.

    Lotsa middle school age “latch key” kids hang out or take shelter in the libraries. They should do something about that! 😉

  4. ….The Public Library seems to one of the last entities not to experience the Nirvana of privatization. Maybe they will be called Verizon Libraries.

  5. for all intents and purposes (which isn’t a bad thing, really).  E-readers and similar gadgets are the death of the library branch as long as folks are willing to pay for their electronic books (and libraries are willing to have online books available).

    The good thing about libraries as museums is that there will be at least a few books which people will be able to check up against the digital version to see how the digital version has been changed.

    • RUKind on December 28, 2010 at 19:30

    But you can’t put the awe of the centuries passed into standing before it. Granted, it’s a museum piece but books, to this old hippie, are objects of reverence. I always buy hard cover whenever possible just for the tactile experience that accompanies the content.

  6. books in my hands and turning the pages. I like paper with type on it. I love libraries. As a friend once said regarding the computer don’t throw away your pencils, you may need them again. I like holding a pencil too, they smell good and graphite is so beautiful and fluid.  

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