the plot thickens

Posted on August 25th, 2005 by


Some of you will have discovered we’ve made a change in off-campus access to our databases. Now, rather than making changes in your browser settings, you can access databases through any browser without having to go under the hood. The drawback? Each time you start a search you have to enter your barcode (from your Gustavus ID) and last name. So long as you’re searching, it will recognize you no matter how many databases you access. But once you close your browser window it has amnesia and makes you reenter that long string of numbers. For the occasional searcher, this change will probably make life easier, but for those of us who prefer to do our research at home it’s going to be more work. Unfortunately, there’s no way to provide both options.


The Christian Science Monitor has a piece on the University of Texas’s decision to move 90,000 books from their Undergraduate Library and replace them with computers. There is always a Sophie’s Choice tone to these pieces – what’s it gonna be, books or computers? Scott Carlson’s famous “Deserted Libraries” story sparked a lot of controversy when it was first published in 2001, but it’s the headline that sets off the alarms. In reality, the piece presents a range of issues and talks about libraries that are anything but deserted.

Both stories are about a changing perception of the library as place. Scott Bennett’s report on libraries as learning commons shifts the focus from either/or to both and from information to learning. And that makes a lot of sense.



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