On the suicide of libraries through misunderstanding their role

Subscribing to journals is one way how libraries spend money based on an outdated concept of their functions and services, while providing no benefit of any kind.

A recent post, “Library Literature Again” from Lorcan Dempsey’s Weblog On libraries, services and networks, talks about the role of journals and journals which aggregate and comment on the literature in journals etc, etc, ad infinitum. He is commenting on articles about how traditionally (academic) libraries are the depository of scientific and technical literature, and how journals are loosing their library market. He was summarizing reflections on what’s happening with professional literature; unlike me he doesn’t advocate speeding up the change to the internet as the exclusive mechanism of publishing and delivery of all such literature. It is time to remove libraries from this picture all together.

Duh!? Dead tree scientific and technical publishing should stop now! While there are large segments of society who still depend on libraries for access to information, the technical elite – the ones who scan journals – ceased being a part of it years ago. Dump the paper! Dump the microfilm! Make it all available online now for free and the interests of everyone desiring access will be served. Paper publishing of journals no longer serves the needs of anyone.

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