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For All Worldwide, A Holistic View

(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)

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Volume I - Chapter Five

(Last updated June 3, 2008)  2007 version in Chinese following this chapter bibliography


(welcoming suggestions from librarians, especially web links)

The universal electronic database may be individual or collective...vast…repositories of information available immediately to any user in the nation or world. . . millions of texts. . .to be managed and. . . joined to one world network. -- Jay Bolter

Another exciting possibility: the formation of a grand `distributed world library’ made possible by interconnecting in a mutually agreed upon, uniform way all the libraries of the world. -- Michael Dertouzos  See: <http://www.widernet.org/digitalLibrary/HowItWorks.htm>.

This emerging technology is a tool that can help take the knowledge explosion...from a kind of random, cafeteria style of learning to a library model of organized, structured materials.  --Herman Lujan (Sources: <http://www.widernet.org/digitalLibrary/DigitalLibraries.htm>.)

The fondest dream of the information age is to create an archive of all knowledge.-- Gary Wolf

It is not yet clear how libraries will change with the emergence in the  21st century of successors to the X-O computer for the world's children--that will store many books and access others online--and the successors of Amazon's KINDLE e-book reader that can download books onto electronic pages that look like a book and can be read like a book. Nor do we know what will come next as these and other such new technologies converge. (see <www.lilbsuccess.org/.> In 2005, in partnership with Google and others, the Library of Congress initiated an effort to create a World Digital Library  for use by other libraries around the globe. "The effort would be supported by funds from nonexclusive, public and private partnerships with organizations that share a common mission of making the world's information universally accessible and useful. Increasingly the Internet itself is beginning to look like the greatest library in history. The beginning of a comprehensive aid in doing research: <http://www.intute.ac.uk/>. The agreement for the World Digital Library was to build capacities in developing countries. <http://www.worlddigitalibrary.org/project/english/index.html>.

On the 2005 global WSIS conference in Egypt on information technology and libraries. `the information society in action,'. serving global health care, education, disaster relief, etc. see <http://www.bibalex.org/wsisalex/>. For papers on an outstanding global library project: <http://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/~gjanee/publications.html>.UNESCO digital library list: <http://www.unesco.org/webworld/portal_freesoft/Software/Digital_Library/>.

Dean Ayers of the University of Virginia at a 2005 Library of Congress symposium on the `digital future,' reported that vast progress had been made in the previous ten years to get all important research data digitalized, and he illustrated what that meant for historians, for example, in his `Valley of the Shadow <http://valley.vcdh.virginia.edu/> project that had dreasiclaly changed his understanding of the American civil war. On the vast digital images available from the New York Public Library see <http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=177>. 

Google announced on December 14, 2004 that it was initiating what the New York Times described as a major step towards a global virtual digital library that hopefully in time can provide at no charge a vast library to anyone on the planet. A deal was made with Oxford University and major American libraries and publishers to digitalize, make searchable  and make freely available on line all possible books, manuscripts and other materials. In time this can be connected to other online texts, films, videos and other resources.  <http://international.loc.gov/intldl/find/digital_collaborations.html> is the web page for the collaborative libraries-Library of Congress global gateway. Kieft (2006) foresees an online library catalog on which users can brouse books on a similar topic as they can on a library shelf and that can be searchable in a variety of inter-connected ways. Vest (2006) foresees a massive global online library. Also see: <http://1upinfo.com>.

The previously discussed COSMOPEDIA (see essay below following the end of chapter bibliography) may ultimately be at the center of global library resources for everyone in the world.  Many people have educated themselves, using only a good library. Now e-books (3.7) and projects like the huge California digital library <http://www.cdlib.org>..are likely now to transform libraries--and research--especially becoming part of the solution to information glut. This is crucial not only for learners and scholars, but also for public-policy makers who need reliable information and analysis. Much of the information they receive is unsystematic, unreliable and tainted by special interests. Much may be too technical to be understood and used or “may be politically, financially or administratively impractical, or not in the interest of decision makers.” (McGann 2000). On line instruction and research can now include links to all kinds of resources as well as to online resources with instruction on how to use it.

How will the library change when an individual will be able to carry thousands of `digital books' in one's pocket? When all the world's libraries are linked into a global system with everything cross-indexed? NetLibrary in 2005 had over 75.000 books available online. Will a hundred million be sometime available that way? See articles on libraries and concepts of literacy in <http://innovateonline.info>. The book Web Wisdom by Eleanor Jan et all  how to check the accuracy of information on a web page. A number of new services suggest the future, such as <http://www.librarything.com/> that helps you locatebbooks used by other persons who have similar interests

 A digital archive of 10 billion pages has been given to the new electronic library at Alexandria, Egypt.  It can be "instantly updated, easily searched and endlessly replicated. "Books will long remain but their current form may in time seem as obsolete as the clay tables of antiquity. (See 3.7.)  Another step, Wolf suggested, is `www.amazon's' goal of creating a digital archive of its multi-million title library in a form that will make it possible to search everything. In time books need never be out of print as all are preserved in electronic form--from which a for sale copy can be accessed from any bookstore. More and more sophisticated software that will be developed. For example, Young (2004) reported in 2004 that leading `search engines' often failed scholarly researchers by not including information in some scholarly archives. So search engine companies were working to provide more and better scholarly information. OAOster, he said, in a partnership with Yahoo had "indexed more than three million scholarly documents and images from 227 institutions. <http://oaister.umdl.umich.edu/oaister>. The Online Computer Library Center and MIT are cooperating on a project "to point Google's users to printed books in local and academic libraries . 

As we discuss online global virtual library futures, we note such conferences as the one sponsored by the National Science Foundation in 2004  (note decisions at <http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/Article11625.phtml> and the `LearningTimes' Library Online Community, a year-round online collaboration space for and by librarians and information  professionals. The Community has featuredes open live collaboration spaces for  meetings with colleagues, frequent webcasts on timely topics, ongoing  dialogues with thought leaders, and just-in-time access to indispensable people  and content. <http://www.libraryconference.com/>.

To discuss a global virtual library we must again consider both the rich and poor of the world and the need for "digital learning objects" online that can be indexed and located in networked grids that correspond to real world places. (Alexander 2004). Also what will be the library needs of learners, teachers and researchers in new kinds of globally-oriented learning institutions, such as in the models we will examine in the next five chapters and projects to make essential materials available to the educationally deprived. Our thesis: that there should be a project of a consortium of university, government and research libraries. .Nobel Prize winner  Harold Varmus (Greenwald 2004) has been promoting `open access' that would provide scientific information--now in journals that can cost $20,000 a year--free to "everyone from high school students to scientists in the developing world.. A first pilot free. refereed journal was on line in 2004.

At the same time Finland has been developing a national electronic library to be available to everyone in the country and it was suggested that its experience should in time be helpful in the development of a global university electronic library: <http://www.kka.fi/julkaisut_tkteksti.lasso?id=409>. Seaman (2003) discussed the economies and service that can be provided by `the federated digital library' that begins to harmonize all records so that a "user could download, combine, search,  annotate, and wrap the results into a `seamless digital library mix,' shaped to the individual user's needs. Users should be provided with "content that fosters discovery, engagement and experiment," in ways that are easy to use. Also note the virtual development library: <http://vlib.org/>.


(1) A library in the early European universities consisted of each scholar’s own personal collection of books or manuscripts which one might share with others. Something like that may occur now with information age technology. All the material a student needs for a course may be included in or electronically attached to the e-textbook. An individual can also have an entire library of books on a disk or smart card. Further, as 2001 students (illegally) used Napster to download files of music, students may be able to download any book that is online, especially those that are not copyrighted or that are accessible for a fee. For example, the Digital Library Company announced that its Questia Media would in 2001 begin offering a digital library service that would allow students electronically to search a collection of over 50,000 books and journals from over 135 publishers by keyword. For a fee of $20-30 a month the service would allow students to download. The system would systematically create hyperlink footnotes so that professors could check the citations (Chronicle 2000). 

(2) As shared collections grew in early universities, the library evolved into a place, a building where scholars could rummage and explore books in a centralized book collection. So, at the heart of traditional university campuses are great libraries, which Dougherty (1991) said were not used by students and faculty as much as is commonly supposed. In Volume III we will say more about new kinds of information age buildings and campuses. Librarians will still need a physical location, and on campus the `library’ building may combine with museums that preserve and present humanity’s artifacts; with campus galleries that preserve and conserve art; and with many other campus collections. These buildings may also provide `learning experience’ rooms (3.4) in which a user could enter into the many facets of life in a past century, or of an author or system of thinking, and other sophisticated forms of experience suggested by what is now provided in imaginative children’s museums. Many universities have already merged their libraries and computer service sections.

(3) The library later came to be seen also as a staff of experts who could help the scholar obtain whatever was needed. It is linking this staff of experts, globally, that makes possible the first available services of what will become a virtual global digital library. It seems logical that teams of librarians and curators will continue the process of organizing all knowledge and make it available, as they now are doing by digitalizing their materials and collaborating with all kinds of services as in the OCLC, etc. (see below). However, (2.2.1) within the `Global Brain concept’ librarians are but part of a more comprehensive, holistic approach to all the world’s knowledge. Virtual Libraries--however important reference and other personalized services may be--are the instruments of higher education for the storing and preserving of knowledge.

(4) Today’s library is less and less a place for books and printed materials alone; it also supplies the learner and researcher with resource materials such as films, video and audiocassettes, microfiche, tapes, CD-ROM, computer diskettes, and on-line data bases with interconnected links that are increasingly international. The announcement by CNN in 2001 that it would spend five or so years digitalizing and making available for library use its vast store of videotapes is but a beginning to another enlargement of electronic libraries, a continually enlarging bank of such data as TV news broadcasts from all over the world. The `Internet Archive' is a free depository of more than ten billion Web pages since 1996--still in use and defunct--that is five times the size of the library of Congress. Web search engines can find some video image if they are in Web pages that can be located by key words. Next, at Columbia University software was being developed that could search a video by certain features in images; and at Carnegie Mellon software is being developed to search by sound and image analysis. (Technology Review, July 2001) Increasingly the digital world will be served by the new electronic library at Alexandria, Egypt.

(5) Garfinkle (2001) proposed that "reality is heading in a different direction," away from the notion that massive data bases will be centralized and brought together into one global electronic library. We suggest here that the `global electronic library' will consist of an index (or electronic library catalog)--and connect to--perhaps millions of local data bases Garfinkle says that "we as are instead building an infrastructure that's optimized for data replication." This means that the same information is getting copied to...thousands of places throughout the world and "kept current through continuing...updates."  Many digital libraries on the Web have been targeted to specific user groups.  Planners for a Workshop on Distributed Computing Architectures for Digital Libraries discussed the fact that few such libraries use the more sophisticated peer-to-peer systems and other architectures used elsewhere on the Web  .

(6) A global library system begins to emerge and will bring together many kinds of electronic and online libraries, such as e-text: <http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/ebooks/ebooklist.html>'. (Read 2003) pointed to what may be one of the most important new research developments, one that can inexpensively empower developing world research and study. This is the use of `personal sensing' technology to "digitalize primary sources." thus "fulfilling the chief goal of academe: democratizing the formation." One illustration, now also on CD, "explores the Civil War travails" of a union town and a confederate town in the same valley. Another brings together in digital form a vast array of information on the Mississippi valley, including for example to include data in a consortium of museums. On digital library developments see: <http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=9362>. Many university libraries are now being digitalized by Google indexing.


(7) Tomorrow’s online Virtual Library (Quinn 2000) will be “a Web-based, relatively seamless network of information sources that can answer any question (within varying lengths of time), with the only barrier being in the user’s lack of resources in money, time, skills and equipment.” Hawkins (2001) said that it is a myth that Web already provides the needed library. The Web is "not a coherent collection of information...is not catalogued...and the most valuable information is protected by copyright and is therefore not available." So the qualities that make a library valuable are not there yet." For these and other reasons the Web is not the library needed for education, but is only a part of that library.  

Perhaps a crucial problem for the student in Africa who needs information from a library in Asia is how to get the personal help, even if by chance she has the connections and funds. To serve the distant learner, the virtual research/teaching library is not just a museum that that conserves knowledge. It also distributes knowledge, helping scattered users keep up with the rapid increase in knowledge and cope with it. Providing such service seems to be a major reason to link all reference librarians and their sources. Just as a USA telephone company may switch a query to a free operator in a distant city, there can be a system whereby the virtual reference library system transfers a query to the best source for the answer; or a link to those whose research is seeking an answer.

The US Library of Congress, the Canadian government, Harvard University and institutions in many other countries have been working on a global reference library service--operating twenty-four hours a day--using reference librarians in different time zones to answer any question and refer learners to sources. It seeks to “provide a professional reference service to researchers anytime and anywhere through an international network of reference librarians, and in cooperation with other services such as COLC, the USA Department of Education, and the Collaborative Digital Reference Service centered at the Li­brary of Congress.

Surveys early in the 21st century show that students on many campuses frequently ask questions of the Internet Public Library” conducted by the School of Information (think `library science’) at the University of Michigan. It was started as an experiment as the “first public library on the Internet.” <http://www.ipl.org > It also operates twenty-four hours a day and answers to ‘answer any question,” are often provided by students who are in training to become reference librarians. (Also see the search engine: http://www.getCited.org/. )

(8) In time will not such services often become automated, just as one can phone many hospitals and get recorded answers to frequently asked questions? The ERIC system, for example, already has had a database of frequently asked questions, and a data base search process. <http://ericir/edu/> More important, one will be able to download a book in a foreign language, and receive it in one's own language. In 2003 such automated translation on the Internet was often inadequate, but the NEW YORK TIMES, Sept. 25, 2003 reported on the project--begun by an amateur when he was a teenager--that had by 2003 developed "Unicode Standard 4.0" that had translated all of the letters and symbols of thousands of languages, ancient and modern into `1 and 0' computer code and was being used, for example, to translate Rabelais into Celtic Irish.

If such services are not adequate, a question can be directed by e-mail to an `expert.” The future electronic global high-tech Virtual Library could have an automated system to show video-tapes or CDs to answer many questions; for example, showing films that demonstrate new methods of water conservation; films that can provide clearer answers than even the most practical book. So not only are reference materials becoming available in new and more manageable form, but the tasks and methods of reference librarians are also changing. An artificial-intelligence-controlled `reference assistant’ may in time guide users through the worldwide virtual library and automatically connect a user, one for example using an automated tutor on the Internet to gain education to the best-available database. Many distant scholars, when in need of information that may not yet be in print or on-line, could use the system to make a request that can be referred to the reference librarian or expert who knows the answer. This could be also invaluable for impoverished learners in the developing world.

The volume of requests could become unmanageable unless much of the system is automated for routine requests and questions that can be referred to links.. Already at the turn of the century the scientist in Berlin who asks the question to Los Alamos may get answers from Australia and California. So one university library assigned a reference li­brarian to regularly scan as many scientific web sites as possible--as search engines do--so as to be able to link users to the most up-to-date scientific information. But shouldn’t this be an automated process in every field of knowledge and in cooperation with those libraries that have expertise on a discipline or sub-section of an information database?

Quinn (2000) pointed out that the Web provides “a medium that can gather questions from all comers and deliver answers anywhere” any hour of day or night. Personal answers can in the middle of the night be provided from other time zones. Answers to frequently asked questions could be recorded or prepared in advance. The virtual library reference system “can have all the features offered by traditional libraries,” she says, and a lot more! It can when necessary connect enquirers to commercial services—such as the Publisher’s International Linking Association or the ISI Web of Science—where users can purchase papers or books. She also anticipated potential conflict between venders—commercial information services—and the free virtual global library’s services. So as many users are willing to pay for excellent commercial services, libraries must keep in mind their tradition of serving poor people, especially those seeking to learn. In relation to its WorldCat--the world’s largest bibliographical database--the OCLC’s CORC project (Computer Online Resource Catalog,) <http://www.oclc.org> uses automated tools to build a shared database, transferring cataloging service into a metadata management system. Many such projects are but a few of the building stones of a foundation for a global virtual library. <http://www.ohiolink.edu/resources/dblist.php?by=format&search=fulltext

As in other areas, many `Google' and `library’ projects are under development; for example the UNESCO <http://www.unesco.org/webworld> project for the electronic recording and making available of scientific theses and dissertations, specifically to meet the needs of developing countries; and the Multilingual Digital Library for West Africa that hopes for a two-way connection with the entire scholarly world. Unfortunately the impoverished scholar—at home or abroad—is not well served when commercial interests (who make a profit from selling scientific information) lobby to close down tax-supported services such as PubScience of the U.S/ Department of Energy and other such free research services. As we mention some Internet and virtual library projects here, we must stress the fact that no one yet knows what they will become as they are linked into a library usable by anyone anywhere in the world. On Google library projects see <http://books.google.com/googleprint/library.html>.

There have been hints that `global reference librarians’ will be able to answer any question. Really? For the student from Africa whose question is: how can I now easily get cured of AIDS? We must come back to the fact that so many of the really important questions are not yet answerable. For the distance student online catalogs need to add more information, such as links to recommended reviews of a book, with varied opinions. Some British scientists however have been seeking to make more of the findings of science free to all. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1056608,00.html>.

1.5.3   THE END OF BOOKS? (See 3.7. here.)

Electronic books—digital e-books--are going to change academic libraries drastically.  A student may soon check out an e-book reader to use it like a printed book. Also, a learner will be able to download the book and will not need to go to the library building to do so. Its copyright restrictions may not allow it to be printed out or copied and it may be coded to disappear in two weeks. Except for current printed materials—such as local newspapers and popular fiction—most traditionally printed books may then be handled more like museum items. Only living, growing, changing books will be provided to learners and they can include digital copies of ancient manuscripts or whatever.

It is too soon to predict the end of print books, but not to foresee the demise of most traditional textbooks. (Discussed in more detail here in (3.7) Electronic textbooks, tailored to a specific class or even to each unique individual, may in time be downloaded from the Internet, then printed and bound for the purchaser; but even then, on e-paper, it can be connected to a CD-ROM or to the Internet so that illustrations can be turned into moving pictures. Such a textbook can therefore be available to the learner in both printed and electronic form. The e-book can be connected to the Internet for daily, weekly or monthly corrections or updating (Looney 2001). The e-book’s text can be supplemented with the learner’s notes, thoughts, observations and additional materials. (See 3.7.) Such a textbook need never become out of date and—if connected from time to the time to the Internet for updating—it can serve a learner for a lifetime. If needed, explanations of high school geometry will still be there on the disk that preserves each individual’s electronic memory system, available for revising and consulting across many years. (More in Volume III)

Libraries, for history and conservation purposes, may want to preserve print copies of e-textbooks, monographs and journals, but in archives, not for regular use. Thus the nature of the university library becomes radically changed, as everything for current use is online. Looney and Sheehan (2001) predicted that university bookstores will  market e-books as vigorously as Barnes and Noble and amazon.com do. “Specialized system integrator companies will soon be assisting libraries with integrating e-Books into their lending systems.” They have also pointed out that the e-Book format makes it easily possible for a student to use precious and rare documents that are kept under lock and key in collections around the world, but which can be made available anywhere in digital form. (See: http://www.octavo.com) An experiment in a paperless campus without a a library of books: <http://www.wired.com/news/school/0,1383,53747,00.html> . 


Few people took it seriously when in last century Watson Davis, one of the founders of the American Society for Information Science (ASIS), predicted a global electronic library.. Elaborating on the idea, Dertouzos (1999) suggested that each nation in the world “would supply in electronic form their contributions to world literature including rare and out-of-print volumes.” The virtual library would then look like one uniform library to those who use it, even though it does so by providing access to many databases and libraries, hundreds of millions of documents, films, and “all other creations of our human heritage…available to everybody, anywhere, anytime.” On the emerging digital science library see: <http://libraryjournal.reviewsnews.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA277226&display=breakingNews>. In the fall of 2004 BBC reported that it was planning to make its vast TV archives available free of charge.

Today one sees the beginning of a global electronic library system that links the digital catalogs and resources of all libraries. Some librarians feel that the World Wide Web is already becoming a global virtual library because of current developments such as the Online Computer library Consortium (OCLC), which in 2001 involved 38,000 or so institutions in seventeen countries. <http://www.oclc.org>. It has been developing: (a) The Online Public Access System (OPAC), a global catalog to link the resources of all the materials which libraries are putting on line in digital form. Its `Dublin Core’ system prepares a description of every available item. (b) And an automated system to search through the Web, to find, organize, and link all reference librarians will all peer reviewed resource materials, text, journals, video, music, graphics, maps and so forth.

If and when every library digitalizes and makes available its unique resources on line--and they are all linked--the vast task of creating a universal virtual library can be accomplished; although it will be many years. For it will take a great deal of time and money for huge libraries--like the French National Library with vast quantities of original and historical material--to complete their share of the task. It may sound like science fiction to talk yet about it being available to all persons on every continent, to every learner in the world. For some poor and unconnected countries that may be a dream for a future century; on five continents, however, many students and faculty already participate in its beginnings.

Planners who are not library specialists have had a glimpse of some “revolutionary changes”—as well as at overwhelming difficulties faced—in the library systems of major universities. Already by the 1990's some fields of study, such as law, had “already created a kind of electronic library” and that several different types were likely to emerge for difference professions, disciplines and tasks. Digital video library of world music: <http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/571.html>. Foster (2003) reported on some of the difficulties faced by online for-profit libraries that need collaboration with resident librarians in order to succeed.  

A virtual library (Brownrigg 1990)  requires bilateral and multilateral agreements to be negotiated on location of data, finances, and exchange standards, and on technologies that differ drastically from country to country. In addition to the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), other initiatives include (see below) which early undertook a pioneering role in working on international standards and projects “that affected every library and university.” The Library of Congress, Manfred Kochen (1988) reported, was at a turning point in its history: “the nerves of government being augmented by the technologies of freedom.” New technologies, Kochen said, were providing more options for amplifying the intellectual work that is so essential for the information age. Kochen’s research at the Library of Congress--on how to improve its functioning--proposed transforming it into a “referral and facili­tation service” in a network of many libraries, and beyond that, to the `cosmopedia’ to bring all knowledge together? See <http://www.greenstone.org/english/home.html>.


An unprecedented flexibility in the hands of the user--"to define and satisfy individual requirements”--increasingly frees the scholar from the constraints of the traditional library. The on-campus learner can access library materials from distant libraries in the dorm, in class, or while off campus on vacation. Today’s learner, however, needs much more than `the facts` or access to documents and books and tomorrow’s learner is going to need much more.  Glimpses of the future can be seen, for example,  in architectural changes in libraries at Princeton University. Marks (2002) reported on new kinds of library space on campus, made essential by the rapidly changing shape of information technology, including more flexibly architecture that can be more easily changed to accommodate future technologies and furniture (every chair wired for power and data.) Princeton University was finding that use of library buildings was increasing even as students could access materials from their dorm rooms in the middle of the night. The availability of rare books in digital form was greatly increasing their use by students and faculty.

A truly universal virtual library service can in time provide help in creating a comprehensive holistic map of all knowledge. Beyond the cosmopedia, the previously described continually updated encyclopedia of all verifiable knowledge, there must be a system to deal with the world’s most serious unanswered questions and problems –holistically and in greater depth. For example, the librarian has to face up to the fact that in the global information era there no longer is a `historian’ anymore, in the classical sense. There are historians who are experts on one small bit of human history, perhaps a geographical period and era, such as the history of Cuba in the 18th century. There are historians of a local community, or a region. There are historians of agriculture, or science or philosophy, and so forth. There are historians who write from a Marxist or another point of view. There are cosmological historians of the universe. So it takes a team of thousands of historians—in time perhaps hundreds of thousands at a time—to put history together, to undertake the classical effort to find some patterns or meaning, to discover lessons from the past and to create accurate repositories of the past. Who, but the librarians, are going to provide the maps for exploring such a vast universe of fact, data…and some wisdom.

The e-textbook or e-history book can continue to help the novice learner by proposing an organization, a structure, and one way to cope with a mass amount of data. The textbook can link the learner to original sources as a step towards scholarship and even expertise. However, information age technology and needs confront every expert, every scholar—even the most brilliant and most highly educated and experienced—with everyone’s monumental ignorance and inability to cope adequately with the vast amounts of data Perhaps the first words of the lecturer in an introductory course on method for historical study should be: “I would like to invite you to explore a vast universe of hyperlinks to history, but to be honest I can only invite you to swim in a stormy ocean. You can swim off by yourself, but to get anywhere you will need a great many companions to support you on the journey. And the librarians and bibliographers are as important as your instructor, counselor tutor, and guides.” Spanier (2003) notes that students today use conventional libraries less and less.

1.5.6  SERVICES FOR DISTANT LEARNERS <http://www.widernet.org/digitalLibrary/HowItWorks.htm>.

One of these days nearly everyone will more consciously be a `lifelong distance learner." Students in secondary schools and universities  who get used to the Internet will increasingly, after graduation, "continue to inhabit this ocean of digital content." Lynch (2003)  Will the newly educated engineer who works in a foreign country and the rural doctor, for example, continue a lifelong relationships with a university through an online library system?  Soon it may be difficult to separate the virtual library needs and possibilities for on campus students from those of distance learners. All are going to need the same `swimming instruction’ and much of it—like the librarian’s lecture to a history class on how to use the library—can be automated, but also a `living,’ continually changing kind of automation in relation to the tutoring process for beginners in Internet use. In the developing world much of this will be accomplished in secondary schools.

In January 2000 an archive--PubMed Central--was opened on the World Wide Web by the National Institutes of Health in the USA “intended, eventually, to house or link all biomedical research” published in this country. (Bloom 2000) It was announced as the beginning of an electronic public library, free to the public as well as to professionals to provide full text of articles and research reports and would “exploit the multimedia capacities of the Internet. The director of the NIH said that it could change the way science is done, with images on the screen, movies, large data sets and links between documents. But objections were immediately raised—backed by those who now profit from selling the information--that the new comprehensive database would” disrupt established methods of evaluating research for publication” which Bloom called a conflict between the old technology and the new, between innovation and inertia. This more holistic and comprehensive plan had to be modified. It was recognized that carefully monitored peer review had to be included. But, Bloom said, “the larger issue has to do with possibilities for advancing knowledge--and whether traditional institutions can adapt to them.

Neighborhood tele-center. Perhaps one essential component of the ultimate global virtual library system will be two-way connections with  the neighborhood or small village tele-center (Vol. 2.18)--a part of the local electronic learning center, More than anyone else, the poorest--rural as well as urban--need access to essential information. So libraries and others must create easily accessible databases and websites designed especially to meet their needs. Meanwhile in June 2005 the Association of American Publishers has asked Google to stop scanning copyrighted books in its project to put the entire contents of some major university libraries online until issues can be negotiated.


It is not only for distance learners and faculty that service requirements in the livelong learning system will be driven and shaped by this increasing use of technology. Kenneth King, formerly a provost at Cornell University, and then president of EDUCOM, said that the goal is to create a world  network to connect every scholar with every important source of information—at no cost to the user—via an enabling “information management system” (Arms 1990). 

The emerging virtual, global library is a network of information tools and services, mostly located in many different places on five continents. The virtual library can increasingly make it possible for scholars to have access to that information network no matter where they may be work­ing. That library/network will increasingly provide full access to text and video and the system will be easy to use without becoming a computer expert. Teams of researchers in various countries—as in virtual co-laboratories—can be automatically connected to databases that regularly notify them of new information in their area of research; for example links to the National Institutes of Health in the USA.

A historian was told that he would one day be able to request immediate access to and read a page from a manuscript from as distant a place as a Portuguese museum via a computer screen or network connected e-book at his home or office. He admitted that this could greatly facilitate research, but he complained that “it would take all the fun out of the work. Rather than having a page from an ancient manuscript shown me on a computer terminal,” he said, “I would more enjoy going to Portugal to rummage around in a musty old museum.” Then he was asked: “How many of a billion of learners and a hundred thousand researchers in the world could that museum accommodate even if they could afford to travel?”

So a next step in a global virtual library plan could be virtual reality visits to distant museums and historical sites --as visits to archeological digs at Delphi in Greece are now available--so that with wall-size screens and other forthcoming technology one can view everything there as if geographically present. Increasing bandwidth will have such fast speed that virtual visits can be fruitful in ways that are hardly yet imaginable. They can also be affordable for learners and researchers for whom such travel would otherwise be possible. Will then the global virtual library also include links to more than museums? (More on research in Volume II.)


Libraries that cannot afford to subscribe to hundreds of expensive journals or purchase large numbers of scholarly books, can now access vast amounts of information via Internet and Web. However, their phone lines may be slow and expensive and funds still are needed for technology and to access materials that are not available free. In  Africa there has been discussion of a collaborative long-range electronic library plan in which poor libraries might jointly petition for low cost service. Also limited library personnel need training, especially in how to adapted and repair inadequate technology as well as use the latest technology when it becomes available. Some technology, and instruction and services on line can perhaps be secured by establishing a close, cooperative “sister library” relationship with a North American or European university. Developing world libraries can also unite in a consortium to divide up share materials and responsibilities in a sort of regional electronic library center serving several or many libraries and schools. As more materials become available on the Internet through a pay-for-use basis, plans need to be made for grants in aid to poor schools and universities. Oxford University Press was in 2003 experimenting with ways to provide electronic journals free or at reduced cost to developing countries. <http://www3.oup.co.uk/jnls/devel/>.

Also sizeable libraries of materials are becoming available on CD-ROM, free from international agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the U.S. Agricultural Library and the USA In­stitutes of Health. Note, for example, the Humanity Development Library “for sustainable development and basic human needs.” Its volume 1.2 CD already included 700 books and reports (full text), 17,000 images, 120,000 pages of ideas, experiences and solutions” to help people meet their basic needs in agriculture, aquaculture, energy, water, environment, sanitation, health, nutrition, handicrafts, and much more. See: <http://www.humaninfo.org>

This project, involving over a hundred international partners, could provide such a CD to any school library in the developing world for a few dollars, and often free from a New Zealand digital library project. The plan is to make twenty million pages available.

Provisional and experimental efforts, however, are not a substitute for initiatives --by wireless and cable—to link all university libraries first, and all libraries in the world as soon as possible. Is there a `bottom up’ global library development plan to survey every library in the world and its needs? Schools of Library Science --although many are changing that name--were at the turn of the 21st century already offering courses on digital libraries, systems administration and management, us of Internet and Web resources, meta-data architecture and in other areas that were nor available even a decade earlier, with perhaps a few exceptions.

Learners wherever they are, as well as students and teachers on campus, also need to access archives and data bases that might be at another university anywhere in the world. The Ohio College Association initiated what became the Online College Library Center (OCLC, Inc.) with headquarters near Columbus, Ohio. This center has become the world s largest “bibliographic computer system,” including sound recordings, music scores, maps, journals, and audiovisual materials as well as books. By 1986, it was serving over 8,000 libraries in twenty-six countries including, for example, the database of Kinki University library in Osaka, Japan. OCLC is committed by charter to “furthering the ease of access and use of the ever-expanding body of worldwide scientific, literary and educational information” (McGill and Racine in Arms 1990). By the turn of the century it was serving 38,000 institutions worldwide.


Again, where is the master plan for the virtual global library, the step-by-step global planning process for beginning now to accomplish such goals for all learners in the world?

As the information explosion continues and it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the vast amounts of information available, the emerging electronic library also needs better ways to organize and to make available this huge corpus of human knowledge. American Association for Information Science (ASIS) publications report many experiments and developments in electronic indexing, transmission, and coding of library materials. An enlarging network of information professionals, sometimes coordinated with each other, increasingly linked, are at work on the foundations for a more adequate worldwide electronic library, even before they see or know how their work will ultimately integrate the world’s knowledge. None of this as yet, however, adds up to a global strategy to digitalize and link all helpful materials, even those in each village on its own history and culture.

Perhaps, however, a beginning is seen in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Digital Library Project, called `DSpace, that in 2002 was beginning digitalize the `entire intellectual output' of MIT in cooperation many many other universities. This `super archive'--with its own Google-type search engine--was planning to move everything out of storage that may not be accessible in the long-range future. The digital archive will include such varied items as brain scans, videos, class lectures and discussions, huge data sets, research papers and reports, books, ocean floor surveys, whole courses,  data from interstellar monitoring. just to name a few. MIT hoped to lead a '`federation'' of universities around the world that would build systems using the DSpace technology that would make scholarly information available to any Internet-connected computer in the world," hoping to set a new standard for the stewardship of knowledge."

Eric Drexler (1987) early proposed “a large, highly evolved hypertext system” as central to a world electronic library. Materials in digital form could be continually reorganized and indexed in all kinds of ways to facilitate study and use. A dedicated computerized hypermedia system to link all relevant materials on a particular subject. And at every sentence, or even at many crucial words, there could be a hyperlink to more detailed information on that point. Where printed reference books include photo illustrations, a hypermedia system already can also include moving picture illustrations, lab dem­onstrations, music, and graphics. One can ask the system to search for more detailed information or illustrations at any point, for it not only stores documents and visual materials, but also develops links between them, idea by idea. And more and more links are developed each time a scholar uses the system.

So, Drexler pointed out, in the last century hypertext could  represent human knowledge in a more natural way. “Human knowledge forms an unbroken web, and human problems sprawl across the fuzzy boundaries between fields.” Rows of books, he said, do a poor job of representing these connections, the structure of human knowledge. Despite all the best efforts of librarians to create webs by indexing, “library research still daunts all but a ded­icated minority of the reading public.” This changes and improves in a hypertext-based electronic library system where ideas can be seen in their largest contexts and where what humanity does not know, the “holes in arguments,” to use Drexler's phrase, can be more visible to potential researchers.

Learners and researchers will be able, for example, with moving pictures and graphic representations--make `virtual visits’ to historical sites, as if a lecture is actually being given at the Parthenon in Athens. Once all the recorded knowledge of mankind—written, spoken, painted or performed—is fully indexed and cross-referenced in electronic and machine-searchable form (Stewart 1991) a student can listen to a symphony while following the score on-line, and while at the same time having access to a film about the composer. Next now more initiative must be taken by those who seek to map and model the stars, (we are still waiting for `star maps’ of knowledge systems) knowledge patterns, what some call the knowledge landscape or ecology, to develop the Semiotic Web. We anticipate an integrated, holistic approach which at the same time will free the learner, teacher and researcher from much noncreative activity.


For the universities' function of preserving knowledge they need the very powerful new technologies that are coming, but they also need a larger, richer, deeper view of what to do with those technologies. Hawkins (2001) noted that "libraries provide a clear example of both the promises and the pitfalls of new technology--both the problems solve and the problems created. O'Donnell (1998) warned that the future electronic virtual library "promises an exciting future," but one "that will be just like the past, only better and faster." Indeed, he said, it may already be obsolete. If it sweeps us off our feet with overwhelming amounts of data, when there are as many publishers as readers, "it may not be highly prized."

" Some of the problems a global library strategy must address, are:

Trustworthyness, autoritative knowledge in a flexible cross-indexed digital system (Campbell 2006)

Scope: A global virtual library catalog in part consists of the interconnection of all the world’s databases, including government and corporation databases which may not be part of a library system. Only a fraction, for example, of local community and commercial databases are digitalized by libraries, and the reference library must access those web pages just as any local user does. Extensive international collaboration will be required among universities and business partners, yet Hawkins (2001) points out, "higher education regularly backs away from collaborative relationships for a range of traditional reasons." The essential collaboration requires "a synergistic--not an additive--solution...the actual commitment of resources...based on a shared vision."

Developing World Access: In the 1990's most scholarly information systems, such as the comprehensive pedagogical research (ERIC) system, provided only titles and abstracts but not full text. The scholar in Africa needed much more than the list of books and journal articles from a Web search. Universities like Cornell's “scholarly information project” (Arms 1990) had sought ways for researchers to obtain an electronic copy of any document; for example, providing the full text via computer monitor or TV screen (access by cable TV). Then it could be printed out if it contained what is required.  After a period of demonstration and experimentation, Cornell's system intended, for example,  to provide access to the entire AGRICOLA database of the National Agricultural Library to scholars across electronic networks and also to the BIOSIS database in genetics so that they would be available to scholars in many countries. That, however, is already yesterday. As of the turn of the century no such system was really available and affordable to many developing world countries.

Language is another problem of access. In time there can be automatic translation, and some databases already offer an option of languages. The European Univision library project was at the turn of the century preparing a multilingual thesaurus in European languages

Technology: Late in the 20th century, in Japan, the idea of an electronic library on satellite--for everyone in the world--was seriously proposed and discussed. Anyone in even the most remote college in Asia or Africa could then use a modest-priced dish receptor to get access to a scholarly library, which in time might be as compre­hensive as the Library of Congress. In February 1989 one plan for such a “Space Station Library System” was proposed by Takeshi Utsumi's GLOSAS project together with Global Education Associates. The proposal was a response to the interest of the Japanese government in launching a satellite for educational pro­grams around the Pacific and to the idea of the president of Tufts University who advocated a three-satellite system to be used exclusively for academic purposes, which would cover the entire globe. For the time being that idea is replaced by a linked system of web pages. Wireless may be the only way to provide an adequate virtual library to poor and isolated parts of the world and in 2006 Google and other services were beginning the processof digitalizing the world's librarie.s.

 Arthur C. Clarke, in a lecture at the at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka where he was chancellor, said that new instruments--sooner than educators expect—are going to empower scholars in the mountains of Asia and in the bush of Africa to do more than use libraries on other continents. Even the smallest and most remote school, even the most isolated researcher, should be able to gain access to information from satellites. Any school can then download from satellite TV to develop a video taped library, built around research interests and needs and indexed according to their own personal or institutional research plans. Former President Duderstadt of the University of Michigan has suggested that such a library will be made available on a satellite as soon as enough material is digitalized. However there are more crucial technological issues. Hawkins (2001) suggested, for example, a new kind of search engine that leads directly to "Web sites, data sets, video clips and other source material deemed to have academic value." He also asks if 'portal technology,' much used now by business corporations in a 'push' technology framework could be used for a "scholar's portal 'to "help screen and filter information, to hone in on , and to effectively push this information to users."

This is mentioned here as a reminder of new possibilities to come with much more powerful technologies.

Copyright Access. In each of these problem areas the laws and procedures differ from country to county. Can a global plan and strategy help solve many of the difficulties ahead? Electronic links can function like footnotes, each like a window or door into the cited document. Can new technologies help solve issues revolving around who owns know contents? In Ted Nelson’s Xanadu-system, small royalty payments could be automatically monitored by the host network, and could be based largely on transmission time. Anyone could create original material and put it on the network with such credit. Serious problems confront even the most sophisticated and advanced libraries and legal, financial and political issues multiply as libraries are linked into a global system. Perhaps some international treaties will have to be negotiated. Some issues will be resolved as a result of experimentation and demonstration, for example, of fee-for-use as a solution to copyright and intellectual property protection.

Costs of Books and Journals. With inflation continuing to increase the cost of printed materials, and with the costs of labor and paper accelerating, even rich schools may by necessity have to turn to electronic materials. E- books will not as often be discarded if they can be updated from year to year for use by the next generation of students. Such electronic materials, easily connected with library systems, can provide ease and efficiency in scholarly work and when text on paper is desired it can be printed out. Libraries then may treat printed books like museum pieces. See digital journals:: <http://www.aace.org/dl/>.

Free Access? As society moves into an information-age “learning society” with huge numbers of research scholars, and with all educated people doing some serious research from time to time, society probably cannot or will not in many countries afford to provide unlimited free time for everyone to use many of these electronic global library services. University tuition charges will provide for a certain amount of free time (more for graduate students) and public libraries will perhaps provide some free time for each borrower as an expansion of the interlibrary loan system. Beyond that, there probably will be charges for continued use of out-of-town databases (not charges for using local CD-ROMs and materials). Since much of the Internet cannot forever be free for reasons explained by Platt (2001), libraries also may not be able to afford to provide free access also. Learners and teachers who can afford to do so might as well by-pass the library to access directly pay data bases they may need to use. A great deal of material can, however, be made available online

Many people worry that the free library concept will be lost and the global electronic system will be available only to an elite. Yet the world s economy cannot thrive until a much higher percentage of the world s population has access to better information. Meanwhile, one proposal at the turn of the century, is being widely debated. The proposal for Public Library of Science envisaged “one, massive, centralized, `free; repository.” (Luce 2000) The proposed idea would be greatly advantageous to scientists in the developing world. ‘One stop’ access would save money and time. However, the Director of the Research Library at Los Alamos National Laboratory points out the `shadow of politics’ that would loom over such a project managed within one country. However, some change is needed in the present complicated `chain’ from author to reader. The process of authoring, editing, peer review, publishing, indexing and distributing is complicated, expensive, and often too slow. So a better alternative may be a decentralized approach--The Open Archives Initiative—which gives authors more control, including the freedom to place their publication wherever they wish. The OAI seeks to create a search-and-retrieve method for finding data wherever it is located, in whatever institution or country.

However the OAI—which still deals with present print-copy methods, may be an interim step towards something more productive for the global virtual library. Increasingly, Luce says, value resides not just in one retrieved paper “but in the relationships between papers, the associated dialog from comments and reviews, updates to the original work, and the ancillary supporting materials.” Web searchers may lead to only a “small portion of this large knowledge space.” To obtain and utilize this complex information will require a new generation of tools that for automated, “self-organizing knowledge on a distributed basis.” The “Active Recommendation Project at Los Alamos, for example, would allow scientists to collaborate across disciplinary lines without needing a new vocabulary. Thus, using new tools, “the emerging adaptive web will analyze and use the collective behavior of communities of users.” Based on the use of others a user would receive recommendations of other articles, data sets and so forth that she or he might otherwise not have found. So. Luce proposes, “perhaps it is time to apply a lesson from biological diversity and simulate our scholarly retrieval system to adapt in a multitude of new ways.” He notes the success of decentralization in the Human Genome project

Disappearing Information and security? Pierce (1990) pointed out that electronic technology “creates a cultural filter” and what does not pass through this filter may be ne­glected or lost. So who is to control the filter and decide what is to be included? Drexler (1987) worried that electronic books will be erased, as print files and old books disintegrate (acid paper) or are lost along with vide and sound files, computer data sets and simulations. Who is developing long-range global policy on what is to be preserved electronically in libraries? More of a crisis is the fact that digital technology, now used to store information, may become obsolete. A more serious problem. (Note Marcum 2002 on also preserving access to disintegrating books. 

Monopoly Control? Judith Turner (1990a) asked whether government or commercial databases will in the future control information. Librarians, she said “would rather let countries on the Pacific Rim control online information in the U.S. than leave it to the publishing industry.” A survey of librarians found that they hope universities will control the information, perhaps forty leading universities creating “the largest online information re­pository in the world.” Their second choice would be a $5 billion on­line library that would start with and build upon the Library of Congress. Less popular alternatives would be a rather chaotic segmented system with no standards, a consortium of Asian governments moving into the vacuum, or a worldwide consortium of publishers who establish a world­wide network.

Overload. Many universities need to subscribe to over a hundred thousand printed journals and the numbers are increasing. So there is continuing debate over whether this kind of mushrooming scientific information can and should be provided elec­tronically to save space and funds and to make it more easily searchable. Some faculty and library staff get nostalgic for the old ways; others are frustrated by the sophisticated technology involved in the electronic library. A most important funding question is when and how adequate and affordable software will be developed to transcend such difficulties.

Junk and Hate/evil Publications, Restrictions? Censorship of worthless junk or of  any kind? No one yet know what exciting surprises may lie ahead as a result of increasingly powerful computers and technology; for example one may be suggested in Newsweek, Nov. 10, 2993: "the developing capacity at `amazon.com' to "search through millions of book pages to unearth any tidbit is part of a search revolution that will change us all."

 A larger view. Who (Google?) , where, when and how is all knowledge to be brought together into a global map, integrated to begin to see the interrelationships of everything to everything? Hawkins (2001) who discussed a knowledge management system concludes with a quotation: "..the library is the means by which" educational institutions will transform themselves into something entirely new. He reminded us that Duderstadt (2000) said that "the real question is not whether  education will be transformed, but rather how...and by whom." Will `they' have a vision that includes a universal access in perpetuity, a "guarantee of electronic access "to anyone, not just (for) a chosen few?" (Hawkins 2001) Also there is the question of how to relate to a new generation of students that are very different in relation to technology. (Lippincott 2005) "In a sense, the library may be the most important observation post for studying how students really learn. If the core competency of the university is the capacity to build collaborative spaces, both real and intellectual, then the changing nature of the library may be a touchstone for the changing nature of the university itself." (Duderstadt 2005)

Return to Chapter 1.4 | Go to Chapter 1.6

Bibliographical Notes

Alexander, Bryan.2004. Going Nomad." Educause, Sept./Oct.

Arms, Caroline. 1990. Campus Strategies for Libraries and Electronic Information. New Bedford, MA, Digital Press.

Blume, Harvey. 2000. “Open Science online.’ American Prospect. March 27.

Bolter, Jay. 1991. Writing Space. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Brownrigg, Edwin. 1990. “Environments for Testing and Evaluating Service and Product Innovations.” Educom Review, fall.

Campbell, Jerry. 2006. ."Chaning a Cultural Icon:The Academic Library..." Educause Review, Jan;.Feb.(and another qariticle in that issue.)

arlson, Scott. 2002. "Do Libraries Really Need Books." Chronicle of Higher Education, July 12.

Chronicle of Higher Education Online. 2000. “Digital Library Plans to Charge Students for Access.” 14 November.

Dertouzos , Michael. 1999. “The Future of Computing.” Scientific American, August.

Dougherty, Richard. 1991. “Research Libraries Must Abandon the Idea that `Bigger is Better.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 19 June.

Drexler, Eric. 1987. Engines of Creation. New York: Doubleday.

Duderstadt, James et al. 2005) "Envisioning a Transformed University." Issues in Science and Technology, fall.

Foster, Andrea. 2003. "An Online Library Struggles to Survive. Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 12.

Garfinkle, Simson. 2001. "Super Sync." Technology Review. November.

Greenwald, Tom. 204. "Public Library of Science." Wired, April.

Hawkins, B. L. 2001. "Information Access in the Digital Era." Educause Review. Sept-Oct,

Howe, Peter. 2002. "MIT To Create  Digital Library." Boston Globe. Nov. 4.

Kieft, Robert. 2006.  Browsing Library Collections: From the Shelf to the Online Catalog. Educause, May/June.

Kochen, Manfred. 1988. “Extending the Human Record.: Washington, DC: Library of Congress.

Lippincott, Joan K. 2005. "Net Generation Students and Libraries." Educause, Mar./Apr. 

Looney, Michael and Mark Sheehan. 2001. Digitalizing Education.” Educause, July-Aug.

Luce, Richard. 2001. “Evolution and Scientific Literature: Towards a Centralized Adaptive Web.” Nature, June 13.

Lynch, Clifford. 1990. “Review of the Linked Systems Project.” Journal of the American Society for Information Management, 41 (4).

Lynch, Clifford. . 2003. "Life After Graduation." Educause, Sept./Oct.

Marcum, Deanna B. 2002. "The Preservation of our Brittle Books Must Also Preserve Access." Chronicle of Higher Education, March 8.

Marks, Marilyn. 2002. "University libraries have designs on the future." Princeton Bulletin, June 17.

McGann, J. G. 2000 “How Think Tanks are Coping with the Future.” Futurist, Nov.-Dec.

Neal, James G. 2008. "A Steady Vision for Libraries." Educause, May/June.

O'Donnell. 1998. Avatars of the Word. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press.

Pelton, Joseph. 2003. "The Future of Broadband Satellite Communication." In Global Peace Through The Global University System." Ed. by T. Varis, T. Utsumi, and W. R. Klemm.University of Tampere, Hameenlinna, Finland. <http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/Global_University/Global%20University%20System/UNESCO_Chair_Book/Bk_outline-D13.html

Platt, Charles. 2001. “The Future Will Be Fast But Not Free.” Wired,  May.

Read, Brock. 2003. "How Digital Hobbyists Are Changing Scholarship." The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 5. 

Roush, Wade. 2005 . The Infinite Library." MIT Technology Review, May..

Seaman, David. 2003. "Deep Sharing: A Case for the Federated Digital Library,"  Educause,  July/Aug..

Smith Abby., 2003., "Digital Preservation." Educause, May/June.

Spanier, G.B.2993. "Bats, Owls Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night." Educause, May/June .

Stewart, Doug. 1991. “Artificial Reality.” Smithsonian, January.

Surface, Taylor. 2000. “Build Locally, Share Globally.” OCLC Newsletter, July/Aug. 2000.

Turner, Judith. 1990. “Librarians Rank Their Preferences. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 14 November.

Vest,, Charles M. 2006. "Open Contwnt and the Emerging Global Meta-University." Educause, May/June

Watkins, Beverly. 1991. “New Group to Promote Internet’s Role in Global Computer Networking.” Wall Street Journal, 11 September.

Wolf, Gary. 2003. "The Great Library of Amazonia." Wired, December. <http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,60948-3,00.html>.

Young, J. R. 2004. "L:ibrarians Try to Widen Google's Eyes. Chroniccle of Higher Education, May 21.

 Carnegie Mellon Video Library Project: http://www.informedia.cs.cmu.edu.Digital Library Forum: http://www.dlib.org .Museum Digital Library: http://www.digitalmuseums.org.  Intrmemory: <http://www.intermemory.org/>.. .

第五章 全球虚拟图书馆:可供所有人使用的网络资源




                                                            ——波尔特 (Jay Bolter)


                                                       ---德尔图佐斯(Michael Dertouzos


                                                           ----卢詹Herman Lujan


----沃尔夫 (Gary Wolf)


弗吉尼亚大学的艾尔(Ayers)主任在国会图书馆举办的2005年数字化未来研讨会上做报告,指出在过去十年中我们在重要科研信息的数字化方面已经取得了长足的进步。艾尔强调这种信息的数字化处理对历史学家意义重大。他在大学网站上建设的“蒙昧之谷”(http://valley.vcdh.virginia.edu/)电子档案库极大的改变了人们对美国内战的理解,这就是很好的例子。纽约公共图书馆有大量数字化的图片信息,见(http:// www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=177)


前文提到过的大百科全书(cosmopedia)很可能会最终成为这个全球图书馆的核心,为全世界的人提供资源。很多人可以借助一个图书馆自学成才,现在,电子图书(3.7)以及类似加利福尼亚数字图书馆(http://www.cdlib.org) 这样的网上资源会改变图书馆的应用模式,引发学习革命。这很可能是解决信息过剩的有效途径。这不仅对于普通学生、学者意义重大,对于政府获取可靠信息,制订各项政策来说也是至关重要的。目前大部分影响政策制订的信息是不系统,不可靠的,且受到各利益集团的影响。还有很多信息太专业难懂,或是在政治、经济、行政上缺乏实际意义,或者不符合决策者的利益。(McGann 2000)。现在,网络可以提供所有资源的链接, 并且告诉人们使用这些资源的方法。

如果一个人可以把上千本“数字化图书”放进口袋,如果世界上所有的图书馆之间建立链接形成一个可以交互索引的网络体系,图书馆将会变成什么样子呢?2005年“网络图书馆”(Net Library)在线可供查阅的书籍已有75000册。会不会有上亿册图书以这种方式出现?关于图书馆和文化知识的新概念请查看http://innovateonline.info 的相关文章。艾黎那(Eleanor Jan)等人著的《网络智慧》一书探讨了如何检验来自网页信息的准确性的问题。

佩尔屯(Pelton)(2003)在报告中说,“二十年之内互联网提供的信息量将是现在的一千倍,信息传递的速度也会大辐提高。”沃尔夫(Wolf)(2003)介绍了建立“一个包含所有学科的资料库”的一些步骤。布卢斯特凯尔(Brewster Kahle)的网上文库(Internet Archive) 就已经向埃及亚历山大的电子图书馆提供了包括一百亿页文献的数字资料汇编的副本。数字资料可以随时更新,检索方便,并且可以无数次复制。书籍会存在下去,但现有的书的形态恐怕很快就会像泥板书或者甲骨文一样过时了。(见3.7)沃尔夫所说的另外一个措施是www.amazon 的建立数字化文库的目标。亚马逊拥有数百万藏书的网上图书馆将供人们查找任何想要的信息。有朝一日,书籍再也不会有绝版的情况出现。所有的书籍都有电子版保存,在任何一家书店都可以买到。会有更多先进软件问世。杨(Young 2004)在2004年指出很多搜索引擎不能从学术资料库提取信息,因此无法满足学者的需求。因此开发搜索引擎的公司正在改进技术,争取提供更多更好的学术信息。OAIster就与雅虎合作“对来自227家研究机构的300万份文件和图片建立了索引。(http://oaister.umdl.umich.edu/oaister 网上计算机图书中心(The Online Computer Library Center) 也与麻省理工学院有合作项目,“帮助Google的用户查找本地学术性图书馆的在版图书”。

谈到全球虚拟图书馆的未来,有必要关注这样一些研讨会,比如2004年由国家科学基金会赞助的一次会议(http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/Article11625.phtml 和一个由图书馆和信息行业从业人员创办和使用的网上合作空间“‘学习时间’图书馆在线社区”。这个网上社区提供同业交流经验的空间,经常组织研讨,与思想界权威人物对话以及及时查询重要人物或信息的途径。(http://www.libraryconference.com/)


1.5.1 大学图书馆的发展

1)早期欧洲大学的图书馆都藏有每一位学者的私人藏书和手稿,而且这些书籍和手稿是可以供他人使用的。类似的做法在信息时代的技术条件下也是可以实现的。学生学习一门课程所需用的全部资料都可以包括在电子图书里,或是与电子图书建立链接。一张光盘或一片智能卡也可以包含整整一座图书馆。此外,既然学生已经可以从网上下载音乐,学生应该也可以下载任何书籍资料,尤其是不受版权保护、或那些可以付费下载的资料。电子图书馆公司(Digital Library Company) 就已经宣布他们的Questia Media 2001年向学生提供电子图书馆服务。学生坐在电脑前就可以轻松查阅135家出版社的50余万册图书和期刊。学生如果每月支付2030美元就可以下载这些资料。该系统还将建立超级链接的脚注, 以便学者检索。(Chronicle 2000)


(2) 在早期的大学里,随着藏书量的增加,图书馆逐渐发展为一个专门机构,一个供学者查阅大量文献的场所。图书馆成为传统大学校园的心脏。在信息时代,图书馆还是需要一个空间场所。在校园里,图书馆可以和博物馆,美术馆,以及其他机构相结合,收藏并展示文物、艺术品等等。除此之外, 还可以建立体验教室,学生可以如同身临其境般的了解古代生活的各个方面,或是了解一个作家、一种思想体系。现在儿童博物馆里很多体验式教育模式都可以借鉴用在大学校园里。很多大学已经合并了它们的图书馆和计算机管理部门。




4今天的图书馆越来越不仅限于收藏图书和期刊。图书馆为学生和研究人员提供大量非印刷品的资料如影片、录像、磁带、缩微胶片、CD、软盘和网上数据库, 等等日益国际化的交互链接的资源。CNN2001年宣布将用5年左右的时间把他们的录像资料数字化供图书馆使用。不断扩大世界电视新闻资料的数据库,这只是扩充电子图书馆的一个开始。“网上资料库”(Internet Archive)储存了上百亿免费网页资源,信息量之大是国会图书馆的五倍。现在, 网上的图像资源主要可以通过关键字检索就可以使用搜索引擎找到。哥伦比亚大学正在开发一种可以通过图像特征查找视频材料的软件。而卡耐基梅林大学(Carnegie Mellon) 则在研究可以通过声音和图像分析进行搜索的软件。(《科技评论(Technology Review)20017月)埃及亚历山大的电子图书馆将越来越多地为数字化世界提供信息服务。


5)加芬科尔(Garfinkle 2001)指出“文化教育事业正在朝着一个新的方向发展”,大规模的资料文献不必以集中的方式储存和管理,可以通过网络建立全球电子图书馆。我们认为“全球电子图书馆”将有电子索引功能,把各地的文献库连接在一起。加芬科尔说:“我们应该建设有助于信息的复制和共享的基础设施。”这意味着“信息可以被无限复制,发往世界各地,并随时更新, 以保证与时代同步。网上很多数字化图书馆是针对特定的用户群体的。策划“数字图书馆分布式计算模型工作室” 的专家讨论了网络资源的使用情况,认为很少有数字化图书馆应用较这种模型更为先进的“对等网络系统”或在网络其他领域中已获得应用的其他技术。


6)一个全球化的图书馆系统已经出现端倪,这系统将把各种网上的电子图书馆如e-text(http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/ebooklist.html )合为一体。李德(Read 2003年)指出科研领域的一个重要的突破就是发展中国家可以通过一些廉价的手段推动它们的科研事业。手段就是通过个人感应技术把资源数字化,“从而实现文化教育的主要目标:信息与知识的平等分享。艾尔在加州大学搞的一个资源数字化项目就是一个例子。这个网上档案库目前已有CD面世。它帮人们全面了解了美国内战中同一个山谷里分别隶属于联邦和南方叛州的两个村子的艰苦生活。另一个数字化档案馆集合了大量有关密西西比河谷的资料。关于数字化图书馆的发展请参见http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=9362



7)未来的虚拟图书馆(Quinn 2000)以网络为基础,一个包罗万象的信息网可以解答任何问题,唯一存在的困难只是个人的金钱、时间、技能和设备是否具备的问题。霍金斯(Hawkins 2001)说过,如果认为网络可以完全满足人们对图书馆的需求,那是很不现实的想法。“网络上的信息是杂乱无序的,没有编目,最有价值的信息又受版权的保护,不能自由使用。”因此很多赋予图书馆重要价值的特点网络还不具备。基于这些原因,网络本身并不是满足教育需要的图书馆,而只是图书馆的一部分。

非洲的学生如果想要从亚洲的一座图书馆提取信息,即使渠道和经费不成问题,也还是会遇到严重的困难,就是怎样得到针对个人的帮助。为满足远程学习者的需要,用于教学、研究的虚拟图书馆不应只是一个保存知识的地方,而应该传播知识,帮助分散在各地的用户跟上知识更新的脚步。这也是为什么要建立所有图书索引管理员之间, 及信息资源之间的联系的原因。美国电话公司可以把一个呼入电话转接给远方城市的不忙的话务员,同样地,可以建立一种系统,把虚拟图书馆用户的查询要求转给最理想的信息源,或把一个链接转给进行搜索的人。


21世纪初的调查显示,许多学校的学生询问关于“互联网公共图书馆”(The Internet Public Library) 的问题。这是密歇根大学信息科学院发起的一个项目,最初只是在网上建立公共图书馆的一种尝试(http://www.ipl.org )。这个图书馆24小时工作,回答图书馆学学生提出的各种问题。(另见搜索引擎http://www.getCited.org/)。


8)现在,我们给医院打电话进行咨询的时候,可以得到常见问题的录音回答。有朝一日,类似的图书馆服务是不是也可以实现自动化呢?ERIC系统就已经有了常见问题的数据库和数据库查询程序。(http://ericir/edu/)更重要的是,用户将可以把外文书籍下载为本国语言。2003, 网上这样的自动翻译功能还不完善,但根据2003915日《纽约时报》的报道,一个由一名十几岁的业余爱好者发起的项目2003年开发出了“同一字符标准4.0”。这个翻译软件把上千种古代、现代语言的字母转换为01计算机代码,并已经成功地将拉伯雷的作品译成了爱尔兰凯尔特语。



魁恩(Quinn 2000)指出,网络提供了这样一种媒介,它可以收集各式各样的问题并不分昼夜地随时提供答案。用户在午夜时分提出的个人问题可以由另一个时区的工作人员做出及时解答。常见问题则可以事先录制好答案备用。她认为虚拟图书馆的检索系统可以具备传统图书馆的所有功能,甚至还能做得更好。必要的话,虚拟图书馆还可以把检索请求连接到一些商业服务如“国际出版社联合会”(the Publisher’s International Linking Association)ISI科技网(ISI Web of Science)等用户可以购买书籍文件的地方。她也预见到了商业服务和未来免费的虚拟图书馆之间潜在的矛盾冲突。尽管很多读者愿意享有付费的优质服务,图书馆不应忘记,它的传统功能是服务于较不富裕的人群,尤其是那些渴望知识的人。电脑在线资源目录(Computer Online Resource Catalog, CORC) (http://www.oclc.org) 通过自动化手段建立了可以共享的数据库,把编目工作变成了一个庞大的数据处理系统。还有很多类似的在线工程,它们都是建造一个全球虚拟图书馆所必须的基石。(http://www.ohiolink.edu/resources/dblist.php?by=format&search=fullltext

在其他领域里,图书馆的各项工程也在进展中。比如联合国教科文组织(http://www.unesco.org/webworld 的科技论文电子化计划,这项工程将满足发展中国家的科研需要。还有“西非多语数字图书馆”计划,它有望实现西非国家与世界学术界的双向交流。遗憾的是,商业利益的影响使一些由税收支持的公益项目被迫停办,这使得国内外不富裕的学者得不到优质的服务。谈到网上虚拟图书馆,我们必须强调这样一个事实,目前没有人知道当所有的网络服务联结成为一个可供全世界任何人使用的图书馆的时候,这些网上工程会变成什么样子。



1.5.3书籍会消失吗? (参见3.7


现在就预言书籍的终结可能为时过早,但可以预见,很多传统形式的教科书将会寿终正寝。(详见3.7)不久,将可以从网上下载专为一个班,甚至为一个学生编写的电子课本,然后把下载的内容打印出来,装订成册,就可以出售了。电子书还可以连上CD或放在网上,这样书中的插图就可以通过动画演示了。这样,教科书可以同时以印刷品和电子书的形式供人使用。电子书与互联网相连,还可以实现每天、每周或每月的定期更新(Looney 2001)。读者的笔记、观点、评论和其他材料也可以随时补充进电子版的教科书。(见3.7)这样的书永远不会过时,通过联网的即时更新,可供读者终身使用。如果需要,高中几何的内容可以一直保存在光盘里,多年以后还可以随时检索。(详见卷三)

由于传统的原因, 图书馆可能还会收藏打印出来的电子书籍、论文或刊物,但只是保存在资料室,不供日常使用。日常检索的信息都在网上,大学图书馆的性质因此会发生巨大的变化。鲁尼和施翰(Looney & Sheehan 2001)预言,大学的书店将会像Barnes and Noble 和亚马逊网上书店一样积极地推销电子书。专业的系统整合公司将会帮助图书馆把电子书籍纳入它们的外借系统。他们还指出,电子书籍这种形式可以使人轻易查阅到各种善本和秘籍。世界各地的珍贵书稿都严密保存不轻易视人,电子版的书稿却可以供任何人使用。(见http://www.octavo.com 关于没有图书馆的无纸大学的试验:http://www.wired.com/news/school/0,1383,53747,00.html.


1.5.4 全球虚拟图书馆

上个世纪美国信息科学学会(American Society for Information Science, ASIS)的创始人之一戴维斯(Watson Davis)提出全球电子图书馆的预言的时候,很少有人重视他的话。德尔图佐斯(Dertouzos, 1999)解释电子图书馆的构想,说每个国家都可以通过电子版的形式为人类学术发展作出贡献,包括提供珍贵的或绝版了的书籍。虚拟图书馆就像一个统一的大图书馆,虽然它只是为读者提供使用众多数据库、图书馆、数百万的文献、影片资料和其他人类遗产的机会。关于即将出现的数字科学图书馆,见:http://libraryjournal.reviewsnews.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA277226&display=breakingNews. 2004年秋季,BBC宣布将免费提供它的电视资料档案供人使用。

今天,人们看到一个连接所有图书馆的数字目录与资源的全球电子图书馆系统开始形成。一些图书管理员认为,由于一些网络新动向如“在线计算机图书馆集成”(Online Computer Library Consortium, OCLC(2001OCLC已包括了17个国家的38000个研究机构)万维网已经开始变成一个全球虚拟图书馆。(http://www.oclc.org 网络正在开发的项目有:(1)在线公共资源系统(Online Public Access System, OPAS),一个全球化的连接了图书馆以数字形式上网的所有信息资源的目录。它的“都柏林核心系统”提供了对每一项内容的描述。(2 网络自动搜索系统。该系统可以自动找到、组织、所有的检索图书馆员,把他们和有所的资源,文章、刊物、视频资料、音乐、图片、地图等等连接起来。


一些非图书馆专业的人士开始看到了一些缓慢的变化,同时也注意到在很多大学图书馆系统所面临的巨大困难。到20世纪90年代,一些学科领域如法律已经建成了电子图书馆。世界音乐数字可视图书馆:http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/571.html 。福斯特(Foster 2003)指出了网上赢利性图书馆所面临的困难,这些图书馆要与当地图书管理员合作才能成功。

虚拟图书馆(Brownrigg 1990)的运行需要双边或多边谈判,在信息、资金、交换标准和技术各个方面达成协议。国会图书馆(Manfred Kochen 1988)正处在其历史的转折点:自由技术正在强化管理机制。新的技术为信息时代占有核心地位的学术工作提供了更多可选择的途径。寇琴在国会图书馆进行关于改善其功能的研究, 并在此基础上提出建议,把国会图书馆改造成链接众多图书馆的网络系统,并进而发展成为囊括一切知识的百科全书。



1.5.5 虚拟图书馆为在校学生提供服务

读者能够空前自由地满足个人的需求,这使学者越来越免受传统图书馆的种种局限。在校学生将可以从宿舍、教室甚至假期中在校外方便地使用图书馆。但读者对图书馆的需求也将不止是查询文献和书籍。从普林斯顿大学图书馆建筑格局的变化可以窥见未来图书馆的发展趋势。马科斯(Marks, 2002)介绍了几种新式学校图书馆。不断更新的信息技术,包括可以更好地适应新技术的建筑模式,使新式图书馆成为最重要的部分。普林斯顿大学发现,随着学生可以在午夜时分从宿舍访问图书馆,图书馆大楼的使用增加了。珍本的数字化版本在网上开放,这使学生和教师对它们的使用率大大提高。

真正的全球虚拟图书馆将有助于构建系统而全面的知识体系。除了前文提到过的大百科全书,还应该有一个系统地、更深入地解答今天面临的疑难问题的系统。比如,随着全球信息时代的到来,将不再有传统意义上的历史学家。会有专攻人类历史上某一段历史的学者,也许是一个地理时期的历史, 比如18世纪古巴的历史。会有研究某一地方志的学者,研究农业史、科技史、哲学史的学者等等。还有的史学家从马克思主义或其他主义的角度叙写历史。这就需要上千,甚至上万名历史学家通力合作,还原历史,来完成传统意义上史学家究天人之际、通古今之变的任务。

电子课本、电子历史书会继续为业余研习历史的学生提供一个知识体系,帮助梳理历史学上庞杂的信息。教材可以把学生和原始资料连接起来,使学生取得进步。但是,信息技术对每一位专家,即使是最聪明、受过最好教育、经验最丰富的学者,都是一种挑战。也许, 在历史课的叙论部分,老师会这样介绍:“我要请大家一起探索历史学庞大的超链接宇宙。坦白地说,我只能带你们游过一片波涛汹涌的海洋。你们可以独立泅渡,但要想达到彼岸,你们需要许多同伴帮助你。图书管理员、书目管理员像你们的老师、辅导员、导师一样重要。” 斯巴尼尔(Spanier, 2003年)说,现在的学生越来越少使用传统形式的图书馆了。


1.5.6 图书馆为远程学习者提供服务

几乎每一个人都将会成为“终身远程学习者”。中学和大学的学生习惯了使用互联网,毕业后就会“继续利用这个数字化知识海洋。”(Lynch2003)一个新毕业, 在国外工作的工程师或乡村医生可以通过一种在线图书馆系统与一所大学保持终身联系吗?不用多久,在校学生与远程学习者在对虚拟图书馆的需求和后者可能提供给他们的服务方面就很难区分开了。大家都需要“泅渡知识的海洋”的技能指导,和图书管理员对如何使用图书馆的介绍。在发展中国家,这些基本条件可以在中学实现。

20001月,美国国家卫生研究所(the National Institutes of Health)的公共医疗中心在国际互联网上启动,提供美国发表的所有生物医学的研究成果。(Bloom 2000)这是一个免费的电子图书馆的开始,不仅对业内人士, 也对普通大众免费提供文章、研究报告的全文。国家卫生研究所主任说,图片、电影、数据库和文献之间的链接可能改变科研的模式。但靠出售信息赢利的人很快提出了反对,说新的综合数据库会干扰既有的投稿评选方式。布卢姆说这是新旧技术之间、革新与守旧之间的矛盾。这个综合性计划需要修改。精心控制的同行评身审或专家评审应该包括进来。但布卢姆(Bloom)说,主要问题在于能否推动知识进步,传统的模式能否适应新的技术。

社区远程学习中心 未来全球虚拟图书馆的一个重要组成部分可能就是社区或农村远程学习中心与图书馆的双向沟通。(卷二18章)农村或城市的贫困人口是最需要获得重要信息的。图书馆必须转为满足他们的需要, 开发容易使用的数据库或网站。


1.5.7 图书馆为研究者提供服务

对技术的应用将推动终身学习系统对各种服务的需求,这不仅对远程学习者和教师来说是如此。原康奈尔大学教务长,后任EDUCOM主任的凯内斯金(Kenneth King)说,目标是要建立一个世界网络,把每一个学者和每一个重要信息源连接起来





1.5.8 对发展中国家的特别服务

没有经济实力订阅大量刊物和购买书籍的图书馆现在可以从互联网上获取大量的信息。但是, 人们还是会有拨号上网慢、费用高、没有足够的资金设备的问题。在非洲,人们正在讨论一个利用电子图书馆长期合作的计划,该计划旨在使经济上较落后的图书馆通过联合争取达到较低廉的服务。图书馆人员也需要培训,知道如何调试、维修设备和使用能够得到的最新技术。通过与北美或欧洲大学建立密切的馆际合作,可以确保获得一些技术、指导和网上服务。发展中国家的图书馆也可以结合起来分享资料,分担责任。网上提供了越来越多的材料,可以付费使用,这时需要制订计划为财力不足的学校提供资助。2003年牛津大学出版社尝试为发展中国家提供免费或降价的电子刊物。(http://www3.oup.co.uk/devel/

很多国际机构如世界卫生组织、联合国食品与农业组织(UN Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO)、美国农业图书馆(U.S. Agricultural Library)和美国卫生研究所,免费以CD形式提供它们的大量资料。致力于可持续发展和基本人类需要的人类发展图书馆the Humanity Development Library)就是一个例子。它的volume 1.2 CD 已经收入了700本书和全文报告、17000幅图片和长达120000页的各种创意、解决方案,帮助人们满足其在农业、渔业、能源、水利、环境、卫生、健康、营养、工艺方面的需要。(http://www.humaninfo.org


无论在什么地方,学生和教师还有远程学习者需要能够进入世界任何地方的一所大学的文献库或数据库。俄亥俄学院联盟发起并创建了在线大学图书馆中心(OCLC, Inc.),总部设在俄亥俄州哥伦布附近。该中心现已成为世界最大的书目检索计算机系统,除了书籍之外还拥有声音资料、音乐资料、地图、刊物和视听资料。到1986年为止,该中心已经在为26个国家的8000座图书馆提供服务,包括日本大阪的近畿大学图书馆。到了20世纪末、21世纪初,该中心服务的对象覆盖世界各地38000个机构。


1.5.9 全球战略




德雷克斯勒(Eric Drexler 1987)早年提出过建立一个庞大的、高度发展的超文本系统作为世界电子图书馆的核心。数字形式的材料可以不断被重新组织,建立索引,方便研究和学习。对每一句话,甚至很多关键字都可以建立超链接,引导使用者就某一个问题找到更详细的信息。一些参考书包含照片插图的,超链接系统也可以提供动画插图、实验室演示录像、音乐或其他图片。系统可以帮助查找关于任何一个问题的详细信息,因为它不仅存储资料,也提供链接。每一次学者使用这个系统,就会有更多链接收入该系统。


通过动画技术,学生或研究员就可以访问虚拟的历史遗迹,就像是在希腊的巴特农神庙现场聆听讲座。一旦所有的知识:书面的、口头的,都以电子的、可通过电脑查询的形式(Stewart 1991)建立起了相互的索引,学生就可以一边听着交响乐,一边从网上浏览乐谱,同时还可以观看有关这个作曲家的影片。我们期待着一种整合的、全面的方式,可以同时把学生、教师和研究者从没有创造性的活动中解放出来。


1.5.10 亟待解决的诸多问题

为了实现保存知识财富的功能,大学需要强大的新技术的支持。但它们更要对如何利用新技术有一个更深、更成熟的认识。霍金斯(Hawkins 2001)说道:“新技术既带来希望,也带来危险,既解决问题也带来新的问题,图书馆就是一个例子。”欧多内尔(O’Donnell 1998)警告人们,电子虚拟图书馆“会带来一个激动人心的未来,”但未来“会和过去一样,只是更好一点,更快一点。”他说,这样的未来可能已经过时了。如果信息技术带来的是令我们应接不暇的大量信息,如果出版东西的人和读者一样多,“这样的未来恐怕很难另每个人都喜欢。”


范围:全球虚拟图书馆的图书目录包含世界所有数据库的链接,其中包括政府、公司等不在图书馆系统内的数据库。只有本地社区或商业数据库的一部分经过图书馆的数字化处理,检索图书馆同本地用户一样需要访问那些网页。大学与商业界合作伙伴需要有广泛的国际合作。但是,霍金斯(Hawkins 2001)指出:“由于一系列传统的原因,高等教育普遍回避合作关系。”重要的合作要求有一种“一加一大于二而不是等于二的解决方案……基于共同认识的资源的共享。”

发展中国家的使用渠道:20世纪90年代,大多数学术信息在网上只提供标题或摘要。非洲的学者需要的不仅是一个书单。康奈尔大学的“学术信息工程”(Arms, 1990年)已经在尝试帮助学者获得任何文献的方法,例如,通过电脑或有线电视提供文献的全文。如果有需要的内容就可以打印出来。经过一个时期的试验,康奈尔大学的系统希望能向各国的学者提供使用全部AGRICOLABIOSIS数据库的途径。但这已经是昨天的事了。进入21世纪,发展中国家并没有得到,也支付不起这样的网络系统。

语言是另一个限制使用机会的问题。将会有自动翻译软件。有些数据库也已经有了多种语言可供选择。欧洲的联合展望 Univision 图书馆计划也提供了包括各欧洲国家语言的多语同义词词典。

技术20世纪末,日本提出并认真讨论了卫星电子图书馆的想法。有了这样一个图书馆,亚洲和非洲在偏远学校的人也可以通过一个很便宜的卫星接收器使用一个有可能发展到像国会图书馆那样规模的综合图书馆。19892月,GLOSAS计划和全球教育协会(Global Education Associates)共同提出了建立这样一个空间站的建议。这项计划的提出对日本政府发射太平洋地区教育卫星的意向以及塔夫斯大学校长关于用三颗卫星覆盖全球用于学术目的的设想作出了回应。现在,这个设想换成了网页链接。无线通讯也许是向世界贫困地区提供足够的虚拟图书馆服务的唯一方法。

克拉克(Arthur C. Clarke)在斯里兰卡莫勒图沃大学的讲座中说,新工具会比教育工作者预见的更快地帮助亚洲和非洲贫困地区的学者使用其他地方的图书馆,而且还不只这些。即使是最小、最偏远地方的学校,最闭塞的研究人员也能够利用卫星获得信息。任何学校都将可以从卫星电视下载信息进而建立录像带图书馆。前密歇根大学校长杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt)曾说,只要有足够多的材料被数字化, 这样的卫星图书馆就可以建成。但是还有更严重的技术问题。霍金斯(Hawkins, 2001)就建议开发一种新的搜索引擎,可以直接搜索到“有学术价值的网址、数据库、录像剪辑和其他资源。”他也提出,已经应用于商业的网络门户技术是不是可以用在学术界,用来“屏蔽、过滤一些信息,筛选出有用信息并有效地推送这些信息给用户。”


版权:关于版权的问题,各国的法律和程序都不一样。一个全球战略可以解决将会面临的诸多困难吗?电子链接可以起到脚注的作用,像通向引文的一扇窗。新技术能解决围绕知识产权的问题吗?在尼尔森(Ted Nelson)Xanadu系统里,主网可以自动记录小额的版税,费率是基于浏览时间的。任何人都可以把自己的作品按这样的收费方式放在网上。即使最先进的图书馆也面临严重的问题,而当图书馆与一个全球网络系统建立链接,法律、经济、政治的问题还会更多。也许有必要谈一些国际条约。一些问题可以通过试验和演示的方式解决,比如用付费使用的方式解决版权和知识产权保护的问题。


免费使用?社会进入信息时代,学习型社会的时代,众多学者和所有接受良好教育的人时常进行严肃的学术研究。社会将无力承担大量的免费网络服务。大学的学费可以支付一部分免费上网时间;作为馆际互借的延伸,公共图书馆可以向读者提供一部分免费上网时间。此外,继续使用外地信息资源(不是本地CDROM和材料)也许就要收费了。普雷特(Platt 2001)解释过为什么互联网不可能一直免费,同样,图书馆也不会免费公认使用。有支付能力的学生和教师可以直接访问付费数据库。但很多资料可以放在网上供人使用。

很多人担心免费图书馆的概念会丧失,全球电子图书馆最后会成为少数人的专利。但世界经济要想发展,就必须使更多人接触到更好的信息。同时,一个建议引起了广泛争论。这个关于公共科学图书馆的建议展望了一个庞大、集中、免费的博物馆的可能性。(Luce 2000年)这个建议对发展中国家的科学家无疑是有益的。但是研究图书馆(Research Library)主任指出,“政治的阴影”笼罩在类似计划的头上。但是现在作者与读者之间复杂的链条需要有一些改变。写作、编辑、出版、索引、发行的程序很繁琐、昂贵,有时也很缓慢。非中心化的措施也许是更好的办法——“开放式档案”(Open Archives InitiativeOAI),作者更有控制,有在任何地方发表的自由。OAI寻求创造一个查询-返回方式,不管数据保存在哪儿都可以找到。



垄断控制?特纳(Judith Turner1990a)问道,政府和商业数据库会不会在将来控制了信息。图书管理员可以让泛太平洋国家控制网上信息而不把信息留给出版界。对图书管理员做的调查显示他们希望大学控制信息,也许由40个顶级大学创造世界上最大的网上信息库。他们的第二的选择是50亿美元的网上图书馆,可以以国会图书馆为基础开始建造。此外, 不那么受欢迎的选择还有混乱、支离、没有标准的系统,亚洲国家的政府蜂拥进入这个真空;或是世界各国的出版商建立一个世界网络。



进一步展望:何时何地以何种方式,将所有的知识整合成为全球导学图,明确地显示出各学科之间的联系?这项工作又由谁来完成?霍金斯(Hawkins 2001)讨论知识管理系统时总结说:“图书馆是一种手段,教育机构借以转变成全新的知识和进步。”他提醒我们,杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt 2000)说过“真正的问题不是教育是否会改变,而是怎样变,由谁来完成转变。”他们的事业里会不会有一个全民教育的远景,一个保证每个人有机会获得信息的电子信息网络而不只是为了少数人(Hopkins 2001)?还有一个问题,就是如何与新一代的学生建立关系(从与技术的关系来说他们是很不一样的一代)(Lippincott 2005)。




The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View
For more information contact Parker Rossman
July 12, 2006 -- Copyright © 2002-2005 Parker Rossman