Posted by: bluesyemre | August 28, 2014

Will #digitisation destroy #libraries or make us stronger?

Open book


  • Digitising books collaboratively allows libraries to share the burden of preservation without jealously hoarding the same stock. After July’s announcement by the Wellcome Library and Jisc that nine partners were combining forces to digitise over 15m pages of 19th-century medical books, you have to ask: will digitisation destroy libraries or make us stronger? The UK Medical Heritage Library, as the collaboration is known, is already part of a larger international project that has 22 partners and has digitised over 50,000 books. But what impact is it having? Is this project part of an inexorable shift away from paper and print towards a world in which books are software, not hardware? Even if we agree the digital turn is to be embraced, not feared, by libraries, why bother digitising stuff ourselves when Google’s ambition is to digitise every book ever printed (all 129,864,880 of them)?

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