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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9

Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Scenarios for the Future of the Book

Author: Dr. David J. Staley
Organisation: American Library Association.
Publish Date: 2012
Country: Global
Method: Scenarios
Theme: Futures
Type: Report
Language: English
Tags: Librarians, Books, Scenarios, Futures thinking, Library, e-book

As e-books and the emerging digital library occupy today’s headlines, there appears to be a tacit consensus emerging from the discourse among academics, journalists, and librarians about the future of the book. That vision of the future, as portrayed in the trade literature and popular press, consigns this centuries-old technology to obsolescence, as if it were merely another information format.

This report explores alternative scenarios, where the technology of the printed book does not disappear or become extinct, but occupies a different position in a technological ecology characterized by the proliferation of e-books and digital libraries. The printed book has for centuries been the chief cognitive object of the library. The future status of that object should be of interest to all librarians, especially as they plan for the future; therefore, this report intentionally favors the continued existence of the printed book as a viable technology.

The goal of this report is to draw attention to our assumptions about the future of the book, assumptions that are grounded in our current e-book zeitgeist. Strategic decisions are often based on underlying—and often unexamined—assumptions about the larger environment in which those decisions will be carried out. The future often turns out not as expected because we do not entertain alternative possibilities and base strategic thinking and actions on one specific belief about the future. Much of our current thinking about the future of libraries appears based on the assumption that printed books will give way to e-books and the digital transmission of textual objects.
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