Monday, March 19, 2007

the traditional and the digital

Every day when I fire up my FeedReader, I now expectantly look for new posts from Peter Brantley's blog shimenawa II.

In a recent posting, Peter outlines some thought on D2D and libraries, with which I strongly agree.

In the past, we've had many discussions at my institution about the divide between the "traditional" and the digital. We still talk about our "digital library" as if it's a separate entity. I have often advocated that we stop using this terminology because it's all THE Library. The "traditional" work of acquisitions and cataloging are huge parts of our online services, populating our catalog and OpenURL Resolver, and generating metadata for our digital objects. Our public services staff select and work with physical collections and online services and content. Our interlibrary services staff deal with electronic document delivery and digitization for reserves as well as book retrieval and physical ILL.

I know it's human nature to express ourselves in structuralist binary oppositions. To extend the Lévi-Strauss metaphor, we need to move forward in our analysis of the thesis and the antithesis into the resolution that is the synthesis. We need to reunite our perspectives on the traditional and the digital into one Library. We are not and cannot be dual organizations any more -- let's stop thinking about ourselves that way.


Lorcan Dempsey said...

Maybe 'aufhebung' is the word to use ;-) Or maybe not ....

Leslie Johnston said...

Simultaneously preserving and changing the organization? I like that.