Monday, February 28, 2011

Digital Public Library of America

Google books, Wikipedia, blogs, and PLoS, among others share the common theme of OPEN ACCESS. Finally we are starting to see a push from the inner cloister of the ivory towers to house all information under one giant universally accessible digital umbrella. The movement is for a digital public library of America. A sort of library at Alexandria in the server cloud. It seems to me this push is a bit late but nonetheless I am glad to see it emerge. In so advocating this epic undertaking there are many worthy questions to ponder the most significant of which are laid out in a lengthy article by by David H. Rothman in the Chronicle Review of Higher Education, freely available to you and me. 

"Will the United States actually construct a genuinely public and democratic national digital-library system to help us, in the president's words, "out-innovate, out-educate, and outbuild the rest of the world?" While the Library of Congress has digitized some of its collection, much remains to be decided and done. Further, Americans have yet to reach a consensus on the characteristics of our own national digital library. Questions abound. Should the system exist mainly to promote literature and culture in general? Or should the library care equally about the promulgation of scientific, technological, mathematical, and medical knowledge—in fact, even business and vocational material, so that it can help millions of jobless Americans and others upgrade their skills? What are the ways to justify the cost of building a national digital-library system? Could the same tablet computers optimized for reading also be used for filing forms electronically and in other ways reduce the costs of paperwork? How can we resolve legal issues surrounding the dread topic, copyright?" 

Read the rest of the article here. I like this idea so much I think I'll ring up my local congress person and ask that they support it. If you feel the same follow this link, plug in your state and zip code and opinionate away!

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