Books: Hard Copy Or Digitized - Or Maybe Both?
October 18, 2010
Many interested and concerned eyes are watching the future of books and the evolution of Eresources in general. Ebooks, Ereads, E whatevers are the currently promising future, and in order for any enterprise to succeed, that enterprise must conform to the advancing business standards of information dissemination.
Who can deny that rare books are always a joy to experience? Whether we experience those rare books in a hard copy format or a digitized one, at this point in time, is a personal choice. One of the best contemporary books I have read in a long time, uplifting in its honor of hard copy antiquities and respecting the place of the modern Library in the preservation of such antiquities is Nancy Kalikow Maxwell’s book, “Sacred Stacks”. In this book, we are introduced to her perception of the role of Librarianship in the now world – such as promoting community, preserving and transmitting culture, and providing sacred space.
Exploring the notion that the future of libraries resides in an investment in electronic resources, one must ask the question, “What is going to happen to that memorable, rapidly antiquating media known as Hard Copy?"
The question is aptly addressed in the photo featured, informative book by Robert Darnton, The Case for Books Past, Present, and Future. The reader of this blog is encouraged to seek it out. Robert Darnton convincingly argues that the current revolution in digitizing books is as revolutionary as the effect of Johannes Gutenberg’s first printing press – which changed the way mankind sought out information over five centuries ago.
And even though Mr. Darnton is progressively supportive of the digitization of hard copy for the intellectual availability of all readers, he also candidly states, “No matter how advanced the technology, I cannot imagine that a digitized image of an old book will provide anything comparable to the excitement of contact with the original.” The place of hard copy in our ever changing world may itself change. The love of the touch of a book will likely not readily depart our universal culture.
Earthlings must evolve, and the evolutionary jump to the next dynamic revolution in literary dissemination will prevail in an economic, easily delivered electronic format. Information is universally required at the touch of a fingertip. In Eformat, it is received in the blink of an eye.
North Oak Branch