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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.
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    Friday, December 02, 2005

    Messy Information or Libraries Rule?

    I heard Michael Gorman speak at the CILIP Umbrella Conference in the summer, and was as unimpressed as Jim Ashling on the Information Today blog was about his keynote at Online Information 2005. I would be the last to suggest that libraries - and more particularly, librarians - have no part to play in today's information-oriented world (I still refuse to use the nonsensical neologism, 'Information Society' - wasn't there always information?) but it seems a little Luddite-like to see no value in Google Book Search or the other digitization projects. Library catalogues - or some of them - may be just adequate to locate books in libraries - but the concept of the content becoming the metadata (as David Weinberger suggested), and universal knowledge and culture being made available - locatable, visible - to all seems something with an import that it is difficult to play down. However, Mr Gorman tried ... and the other three speakers on the panel (one from Google itself) disagreed! The speed, as well as the ability of Google Book Search to reach countries that others cannot, cannot be denied; and the European Library Project, as well as other major digitization projects tends to suggest that, as Lorcan Dempsey suggested, the library will go online.


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