The future of the library; musing on

Musing, sometimes optimistically, more often pessimistically, about the future of libraries seems to have appeal for many thinkers in and about the profession. Charles Ammi Cutter arguably started it with his late nineteenth-century vision, in some respects remarkably prescient, of a public library one hundred years ahead. From time to time, such musings take a… Continue reading The future of the library; musing on

Physical plus digital, but more physical than you might think

Until quite recently, the world of recorded information was physical: print-on-paper, plus the paper card ‘machinery’ well described by Marcus Krajewski’s book Paper Machines. Mechanised documentation – punched cards, edge-notched cards, and the like – added some automation, but were still very much physical objects. Then the information world became a bit digital, with computer… Continue reading Physical plus digital, but more physical than you might think

iPads, blogs and the information future

O'Reilly has been known as a publisher of books on information technology for over thirty years: as their website puts it "a chronicler and catalyst of leading-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and galvanizing their adoption by amplifying the faint signals from the alpha geeks who are creating the future".… Continue reading iPads, blogs and the information future

The Once and Future Book

This is a version of an editorial written for the Journal of Documentation. The future of the book has received a good deal of attention, as we move into an increasingly digital information environment. The e-book has become a reality, and the prospect of books being superseded entirely by blogs, wikis and other novel digital… Continue reading The Once and Future Book

New year, old idea ?

A new year always provokes thoughts of what has gone and what is to come. The news media, feeding our liking for the comfort of the repetition of the annual cycle, devote much space in January to this kind of reflection, which often seems not to change much from one year to the next. I… Continue reading New year, old idea ?

Inforum proceedings

The proceedings of the Prague Inforum conference, which I mentioned in a previous post, are now available online here. They are of interest to anyone concerned with the use of digital information sources, particularly though not entirely in a Central European context. My own paper, 'Library / information prospects: three views of the future', can… Continue reading Inforum proceedings

An obsession with our own future ?

One of the nice things about editing an academic journal - in my case the Journal of Documentation - is that one gets to write editorials. This doesn't give quite the scope for free expression that writing a blog does - for one thing, the publisher might take a view if the expression were too… Continue reading An obsession with our own future ?