On the front page of yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, there was a story describing what might be the largest personal archiving project ever. Mrs. Marion Stokes, who died in 2012, recorded all the TV news on all channels for nearly 35 years. Her collection filled nearly 140,000 videocassettes which weigh about 31 tons!
Public libraries have changed significantly since my childhood. Gone are the card catalog and the abundant staff (replaced by fewer staff and various forms of automation). And in many local libraries, only a few research items, such as encyclopedias, remain. Research libraries with their large stacks and historical collections retain an air of legacy, but they too have changed. The most significant changes for all libraries lay ahead.
In the 1960s, only a few saw the potential of the internet, then a nascent defense system project, to disrupt libraries. And few, if any, saw the disruption in bookstores and retailing.
As we look forward, we can be much wiser about the questions we ask than about any conclusions we may draw. In the discipline called scenario planning, uncertainty drives stories with rich, multiple, branching chronicles of future history that create a safe place to explore what might be. For uncertainties to be useful, they must be named, their outcome or impact or very nature must be highly uncertain, and they must be critically relevant to a question such as, “What will be the role of libraries in 2023?”
I said in my previous posting that our digital data are fragile and perishable and that preservation is one of the most important reasons to undertake an archiving project. And as it turned out, that consideration led eventually to the publication of Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage.
In the early morning hours of November 6, a fire broke out in the scanning center of the Internet Archive’s headquarters in San Francisco (click here to view photos). Fortunately, it was contained fairly quickly, and losses were mostly confined to specialized hardware, estimated to have been worth about $600,000. Nobody was injured, and there was no loss of stored data. The main headquarters building was not damaged, but a residence on the other side of the scanning center was extensively damaged, and the occupants were temporarily relocated.
Susanne is right—we had a wonderful time at the conference (#IL2013) and really enjoyed the programs and presentations, as well as meeting and connecting with other conference attendees. In addition to hearing a lot of questions about returning to librarianship, we also heard a lot from folks with questions that centered around moving from one type of library to another, or from one type of position to another. Law library to academic? Government docs to research and instruction? So here’s another Q and A from the conference…
- A Monumental Personal Archiving Project December 10, 2013
- Eleven Questions to Ask About the Future of Your Library December 6, 2013
- The Genesis of ‘Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage’ November 27, 2013
- An Important Lesson to Be Learned From The Internet Archive Fire November 25, 2013
- Making the Transition from One Library Position to Another November 21, 2013
- Now in the Pipeline –The New Digital Scholar August 11, 2012
- The Extreme Searcher Rides Again…? January 21, 2013
- The Trouble with QR Codes September 18, 2012
- Marketing in Libraries: Yes, It’s Up to You! December 7, 2012
- Some Interesting Thoughts about Librarians and Blogging August 6, 2012
- Kathy Dempsey: Great segment, you two! You're naturals on camera...
- Debbie McManus: this is great Rob!...
- Elizabeth Burns: Thanks for the blog birthday wishes!...
- John B. Bryans: Hi Bonnie -- can't believe we haven't gotten tha...
- Bonnie Cohen Lafazan: John B. Bryans I Pm's my address a while again an...