Monday, July 19, 2010

Epistemology, Experience, and the Library

Presentations from the 2010 Annual RLG Partnership Symposium are available from OCLC’s site.

Adrian Johns’s talk, “As our Readers Go Digital,” touches on the three Ps of reading—places, practices, and publics. With the rise of digitally displaced reading practices, libraries are under pressure to justify their spaces. But we still need well conceived and calm places that preserve opportunities for discovery, which requires a variety of resources (digital and analog), the application of scholarly methods, and the possibility of serendipity. Places shape practices and publics.

Richard Luce’s presentation, “Change in Emphasis: Recasting Resource Investments and the Rise of Special Collections,” focuses on the value of special collections. Universities emerged out of libraries, now the challenge is reintegrate universities into libraries. Luce stresses the need to focus on what is unique, which he claims is only about 5% of current library activities (which are funded at about that rate). Libraries can build interactive experiences around special collections—“living archives”—that teach what it means to be a scholar.