LIS 600: Foundations of Library and Information Studies
Week FiveKevin Rioux, PhDDivision of Library and Information Science
The Technology Debate In Librarianship:Very quick changes in how we provide accessEducating new librarians about technological issuesBrick & mortar libraries vs. digital librariesDisintermediation and threats of obsolescenceCompetition from for-profitCommodification of informationBudgets: buy technology or buy materials?Overly ambitious technophilia vs. traditional LudditismMedia hype (lack of evidence to support some technologiesStatus conferred by technology
Some historyLibraries have always been influenced by technologyClay tablet to paperPrinting pressElectricityCard catalogsClassification systems
History, contd.1920s: microphotography was developed and adoptedConsidered a VERY big innovationExtremely fast and cheap printing and reproduction after WWIIMimeographs and photocopying Drastically changed the cost of dissemination
History, contd.Computers were employed in library applications by the 1960s.Punch card technologyOften for information retrieval issues for special libraries that supported Cold War defense projectsBelief was that it would completely automate the information cycle
History contd.MARC records were developed in the 1960sMA chine Readable CatalogingA standard created by LOCMARC paved the way for bibliographic utilitiesOutsourced support toolsE.g., OCLC (Online Computing Library Center). Academic only at first--later opened to other library typesPrepared pre-made catalog cards Member libraries holdings were placed in a large networked catalogSupports ILL, acquisition, reference, etc.
History, contd.RLIN -- Research Libraries Information Network: another bibliographic utilityOnline indexes, especially for scientific communities, e.g., National Library of Medicines Index Medicus
Computers in LibrariesLibrary community was somewhat mixed in opinionSome became early adopters and innovatorsSome were (and remain) skeptical of technologys ability to enhance service.First major use of online technologies in libraries (late 1960s, early 1970s): Early on were quite complex, using Boolean arguments to searchCostly and not free to patrons (problematic)At the same time circulation, acquistions and OPACs were being developed.
Computers in Libraries, contd.1980s, CD-ROMSearch tools were improvedFixed cost subscriptionsCould hold lots of informationAt the same timeCommercially packaged and in-house developed OPACs and circulation and acquisition systems
Computers in Libraries, contd.Integrated Library Systems (ILS)Coordinated and automated:AcquisitionsSerialsCatalogingOPACCirculationCollection management
Computers in Libraries, contd.OPACSQuick and easy access to bibliographic recordsDistributed online in the 1990sMuch more flexible searches than what card catalogs offered due to an expanded number of access points in the recordExpensiveHybrid librariesA mix of traditional and digital collections and servicesDigital LibrariesA managed collection of information, with associated services, where the information is stored in digital formats and is accessible over a network (Arms, 2000)Important in distance education contexts
Computers in Libraries, contd.PortalsCustomized for clientsLibrary homepagesDigital ReferenceFinancial factors associated with electronic resourcesAcquisition time and effortInstallation and space costsTraining MaintenanceUpgrading
Origins of the InternetDepartment of Defenses Defense Advanced Research Projects Research Agency (DARPA) created a computer network called the ARPA-net to facilitate information exchange among defense contractors (around 1969).Early development of FTP, email, file sharingNational Science Foundation (NSF) got involved in the mid 1980s to facilitate multi-site research projects
Origins of the Internet, contd.National High Performance Computing Act in 1991--government support for the development of the Internet.NREN--National Research and Education Network: to link businesses and educational and governmental agenciesIn the early 1990s, government was joined by other information cycle stakeholders in expanding the Internet.Given the potential for expanded service, librarians have been early and enthusiastic adopters of Internet technologies.
Internet terms to knowTCP/IP = Transmission Control Protocol/Internet protocol. Standardized communication protocol that allows various kinds of computers to talk to one another on the InternetBasis of client/server computingTelnetStandardized remote protocol for logging in to a serverFTP = File Transfer ProtocolStandardized protocol for moving files from one computer to another
Internet terms to know, contd.World Wide Web (WWW or just the Web)not synonymous with the Internet, which is made up of many types of electronic resourcesIs an Internet interfaceBased on Hypertext (recall Bushs As We May Think, 1945).HTTP = HyperText Transfer ProtocolStandardized protocol that allows transfer of HTML formatted documents from one computer to another on the WWW.HTML = HyperText Markup LanguageA (somewhat) standardized series of tags that prepare plain text documents for use as Web pages
Internet terms to know, contd.Browser : computer program that allows you to access HTML documents. Based on HTTP, FTP, Telnet and HTML protocols
Changes observable in librarianship due to information technologiesA dynamic continuum -- great thing to nemesisTechnology has changed libraries physicallyExtensive wiring Many computer terminalsQuestions of ergonomics and ADA Communication and dissemination receive much more emphasis -- a change in process.
Observable changes, contd.Cost and time issuesHave to balance low cost with quick turnaround expectationsElectronic referenceAsynchronous referenceGlobal service constituenciesLeadership opportunities for librarians in policymaking, information literacy, bibliographic instruction, authenticating, archival and preservation issues, etc.Changes collection development priorities and processes
Technology issues to think about:PreservationData migrationDont know how long digital materials lastCant read without working readersObsolete formatsWWW is much to large to preserveWhat parts do you preserve and catalog?Libraries as physical structuresIs the role as a social and civic center threatened?
Technology Issues to think about, contd.Professional/non-professional staffTraining new and existing librarians Outsourcing and resultant turf issuesTechnostressNew relationships with for-profit entitiesLegal issuesRelationship between technology and traditional goals and mission Collection vs. connection