Libraries and Access in the Digital Age

Interesting article (first published in the Chronicle of Higher Education) in which David Greenstein at the University of California Digital Library talks to Google and Microsoft executives about access to information and trends in scholarly communication. Read it here.

Libraries are really all about access. The aim of the academic library is to make information available in support of scholarship – that is, research and teaching. Libraries got caught up in the care and feeding of books because, in the print environment, that was essential to delivering access: to get access to information, you had to be near it. But libraries are fundamentally about access.

So, when folks from Microsoft and Google want to make books widely accessible, it generates a lot of enthusiasm among a lot of librarians. And it is hard to underestimate the power of that promise of public access to vast quantities of information.

It makes for fascinating reading in light of the conference topic for OK-ACRL this year!