In If it didn’t exist, what would cause it to be created?, Peter Brantley summarizes his talk on the Challenges for Research Libraries and the ensuing Q&A from a recent Common Solutions Group meeting.
Some of the more interesting questions from the audience (high level IT administrators):
The library still approaches IT as a novelty. Librarians come from a background where their previous information storage technology has lasted hundreds of years (paper), and nothing that IT currently wields demonstrates a similar proven track record. The fast evolution of storage media, standards and other technology infrastructure doesn’t instill them with enough confidence that what we’re doing today will be around 5-10 years from now, let alone 100.
Nice to hear an IT person acknowledge the very reasonable basis for a lack of confidence in electronic preservation. I think the same phenomena is at work in faculty reluctance to embrace digital repositories.
Another money quote:
As was asked of central IT here a few months back, if the library didn’t exist, what would cause it to be created at our institutions?
While lots of the talk on the future of libraries centers on highlights services as our key to survival, the current financial situation might suggest that economies of scale might be a key factor that would lead to the creation of libraries right now if they did not already exist.