Reluctant faculty members, challenges in scanning old texts with foreign characters, and conflicting ideas about whether information should be commodified or made free on the internet have been barriers to educators and librarians who advocate for digital libraries, according to research conducted by digital media experts from Rice University and the University of Michigan.
Their report, “The Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for 21st Century Scholarship,” was released June 2 by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Library and Information Resources, a nonprofit group that advocates for greater access to information. The research examines the “wistfulness” for the days of print libraries that has slowed the creation of digitized book collections, among other topics.
Many in higher education have argued for more comprehensive web-based libraries like Google’s much-publicized Book Search, which has come under scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department.
In February, Stanford University affirmed its support of the expansive online library in what a campus statement called a “milestone in Stanford’s commitment to the program and to the provision of public access to millions of its books.”
Stanford’s library is one of more than 20 worldwide that have signed on to Google Book Search, which seeks to make millions of books available as the internet giant battles publishers and other opponents who fear the web repository would have too much control over online book prices.
Charles Henry, president of the Council on Library and Information Resources and former vice provost and university librarian at Rice University in Houston, said the gulf between those who want to make information profitable for businesses and universities, and those who advocate for digitized libraries available to the public, has complicated the creation of all-online libraries in recent years…