Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Digital Library Environment - Ten Years On

A must-read article by our colleague and co-OCLC-blogger Lorcan Dempsey, published in the tenth anniversary edition of Ariadne. It's a thorough and elegant overview of the not so elegant toilings of (mostly UK) efforts to move library functions onto the Web. Modestly, he doesn't mention this article on his own blog.

It's a long article and I have in the past, lightly (because I never could write in that academic way?), characterized Lorcan's writing as "prolix" but that is just demands attention. If you've heard any OCLC people speaking in the last few years you will recognize some themes, albeit expressed a wee bit more academically:
  • System-wide, there was an ambition to achieve systemic change in how information services were provided as part of the wider provision of research and learning support
  • We are moving to a flatter network world, where the gap between the Web and business applications is narrowing.
  • Many large Internet presences involve the user in the creation of the service or in their own experience of information resources are flowing onto the network, free at the point of use or available for a small fee.
  • We do not release the investment in structured data in engaging and interesting user experiences.

I've just picked a few "sound bites"... go read the article. Think.

Thank you and happy birthday, Ariadne.