University Library Gets Rid Of The Books

from the those-old-paper-things? dept

It’s not quite as drastic as the headline would have you believe, but the removal of all books from a University of Texas at Austin library to make room for a more digital friendly study space is turning some heads. The books aren’t being ditched. They’re just moving to other libraries. Really, all that’s happening is the University has decided that this particular library can be converted into a study area — with an emphasis on digital connectivity and information, rather than a place to store books. However, on a symbolic level, it’s making people think about the future of the library as a place to find books — and whether or not that’s an obsolete idea.

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Comments on “University Library Gets Rid Of The Books”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Goodbye, libraries

Problems will occur by making libraries all digital.
If books will be accessed digitally, you’ve no guarantee you’re accessing the same books day to day. In Farhenheit 911, books had to be burned. With digital files, they just need to be edited. That can be done with no one knowing. A hacker would do it just for kicks. The US government would do it for national security, moral hygiene, anti-defamation laws, …
Whether or not the files are secure and protected, your access of the files is that much easier to monitor. The current fuss in libraries about homeland security potentially spying on your book-reading shows the potential of this problem.

If you know what you’re looking for, digital research helps you find it, and not much else. Research with digital books has it’s advantages: fulltext searches, text summaries, and hyperlinks. Yes, digitizing old works can make research easier, but it can stop a student from reading a book cover-to-cover. That sometimes defeats the author’s purpose. It is the difference between filling your pigeonholes and finding pigeonholes to fill.

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