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Is there a library-sized hole in the internet?

Is there a library-sized hole in the internet?

“David Weinberger is senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and has been instrumental in the development of ideas about the impact of the web. Shortly before his recent keynote presentation at OCLC’s EMEA Regional Council Meeting in Florence, he spoke with Sarah Bartlett about the library-sized hole in the Internet and how a ‘library graph’ might help librarians to fill it.

You rose to prominence as an internet thought leader, with pioneering texts such as The Cluetrain Manifesto and Everything is Miscellaneous. What led you into the world of libraries?

In Everything is Miscellaneous I explored the way the Internet is redefining our ideas about how we organise things and ideas, and the move from physical to digital and networked library resources is a prime example of that. As a result of Everything is Miscellaneous, I was offered a position as co-director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. This turned out to be an amazing learning experience in the heart of one of the world’s great libraries.

Besides format changes, what is the most significant impact of the web on libraries today?

Library knowledge – the content; the metadata; what librarians and the community know about items held – is being lost to the web. This represents an immense amount of culture. The most basic components of the web are links, but if you want to talk about a book, what do you link to? There is no clear answer. They might turn to Wikipedia, but only around 70,000 books actually have a page on Wikipedia, so people rely on commercial sites like Amazon. We aren’t even meeting the most basic requirement, linking, much less having a way to refer to the history of the work, how it’s affected people and culture.”

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Posted on: February 26, 2015, 6:12 am Category: Uncategorized