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The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 20, May 15, 2005, Article 16

SAY IT ISNíT TRUE! A LIBRARY WITHOUT BOOKS!

Dick Johnson writes: "The New York Times ran an article
Saturday, May 14, 2005, that a University of Texas library is
dispersing all its books to be replaced by computer modules.
Will the digital age replace more libraries? Only dictionaries
and certain reference books remain as books. Otherwise its
"software suites" on four floors of this undergraduate university
library.

Students are going to learn Google and not the pleasure of
opening a sheaf of bound pages and feel the heft of the authorís
words between cloth-bound covers. The smell of paper. The
images of sharp type on printed pages and illustrations in original
printing. Pixels instead of pictures.

Read this article by Ralph Blumenthal only if you have a strong
constitution."

[Joel Orosz also forwarded the article, noting, "For now, the
books are being moved, but since out of sight is out of mind, it
is only a matter of time before they will begin to discard them.
This is chilling." Some excerpts follow -Editor]

"Students attending the University of Texas at Austin will find
something missing from the undergraduate library this fall.

Books.

By mid-July, the university says, almost all of the library's
90,000 volumes will be dispersed to other university
collections to clear space for a 24-hour electronic
information commons, a fast-spreading phenomenon
that is transforming research and study on campuses
around the country."

"Such digital learning laboratories, staffed with Internet-expert
librarians, teachers and technicians, have been advancing on
traditional college libraries since appearing at the University
of Southern California in 1994. As more texts become
accessible online, libraries have been moving lesser-used
materials to storage. But experts said it was symbolic for a
top educational institution like Texas to empty a library of
books."

"Significantly, librarians are big supporters of the trend.

"There's a real transition going on," said Sarah Thomas, past
president of the Association of Research Libraries and the
librarian at the Cornell University Library in Ithaca, N.Y.
"This is not to say you don't have paper or books. Of course,
they're sacred. But more and more we're delivering material
to the user as opposed to the user coming into the library
to get it."

To read the full article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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