Blown To Bits

Explosion and the Libraries

Saturday, May 24th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

Harvard’s University Librarian, Robert Darnton, has a good piece in the New York Review of Books on the future of research libraries. It begins, “Information is exploding so furiously around us and information technology is changing at such bewildering speed that we face a fundamental problem: How to orient ourselves in the new landscape? What, for example, will become of research libraries in the face of technological marvels such as Google?”

Nice metaphor, Professor Darnton! (Full disclosure: We were far from the first to use it. “Information Explosion” is the title of a paper by Latanya Sweeney, and the image surely wasn’t original with her either.)

While we’re at it, a tip of the hat to my colleague Stuart Shieber, the architect of Harvard’s open-access policy for research papers. He’s just been named head of Harvard’s newly created Office of Scholarly Communications.

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