The author, a university librarian, points out that online libraries are still far from matching the quality, scope, and service levels of traditional libraries. His look at the current state of affairs in digitized information contrasts sharply to the hype about its potential. To wit:
- Less than 10 percent (estimated) of professional journals are online today.
- Search engines still miss significant percentages of appropriate material.
- There is a great deal of misinformation on the web, what’s there is often very broad and hard to process, and it’s unfiltered.
- eBooks represent a great opportunity for disseminating information, but they are still in their infancy. Few titles are available, and their cost is prohibitive.
- Building a virtual library is surprisingly expensive. Buying electronic rights to copyrighted information is very costly, and computer maintenance and support are major ongoing expenses.
- Books are still more portable than computers, even eBook readers.