Bronwyn's Library Blog

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Permanent electronic records...

Books and paper documents can so easily be destroyed - fire, flood, earthquake ... not to mention destruction either deliberate or accidental by human forces. So now there's the internet. But how ephemeral is that? Records lost as easily as the destruction of a hard drive, or the urge to take down a website. Perhaps there is new hope in this recent article from the Wall Street Journal Lawyers were able to turn to "the Wayback Machine, a massive archive of Web pages dating back nine years."
this has been very useful to them in a variety of cases.

I can't help throwing up my hands in horror, though. Despite being a librarian and an inveterate hoarder (or maybe because of this last and the resulting problems in my poor home!!), I cannot imagine how much trivia there is filed away in the Wayback Machine.

And the name - ah a great fantasy novel in the making ...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Books AND information

Yep! I have to admit it. I'm a librarian, and yet when it comes to reearching information I choose the internet first. It's easy, it's here and it's huge. But always to be supplemented by whatever the library can provide. Nevertheless for reading for pleasure, it will always be a book. And here is the great divide. Sure the book is dying as a source of information. We still have a role to play here - equalizing access to digital sources and advising on searching techniques. And Michael Rogers makes a good point in hit article, Turning books into bits. '“Governments burn libraries,” says Kahle, “societies go up and down, Iron Curtains go up and down. Having copies in multiple places is the best way to preserve knowledge.”

But this is entirely different to providing a book for the pure pleasure of escaping into a different world. If we are to navel-gaze about the possible demise of librarian, then we should separate the two fields out, because they offer entirely different scenarios.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Copyright and Technology

The debate over copyright rages on, particularly in the field of technology. As usual, our scientific advances have outstripped our legal system's and probably, therefore, our ethical understanding's ability to keep up. I am fasinated by the potential of blogs and wikis and open source, but I certainly don't have an answer to the problems of commercial producers of material, especially of media like music and cds. Neverthless that is a commercial perspective. I had not thought, nor read much, about the implications of copyright and the way people use other people's material, particularly in the area of movies and television, rather than print media. So this article by Dan Duncan caught my attention. It introduces the idea of artistic integrity v filtering devices that can filter out, for example, objectionable material from movies, and the concept of fair use of television programmes. If, like me, you are a novice to the concepts behind the copyright debate, it will give you some good background.