November 24, 2017

Michigan Hosts Conference on Digitization Issues

By LJ Staff

On March 10 – 11, the University of Michigan hosted a conference on digitization, titled Scholarship and Libraries in the Transition: A Dialogue about the Impacts of Mass Digitization Projects. The event gathered together librarians, publishers, and technologists for a wide-ranging discussion, captured in a thorough conference log kept by University of Notre Dame librarian Eric Lease Morgan. ‘Collections without services are useless, and services without collections are empty,’ he observed. ‘You can’t have one and not the other and call your thing a library.’

‘The panel on research, teaching, and learning seemed to focus much of its attention on search,’ Morgan observed. ‘For example, Ed Tenner (Princeton University) thought that present-day search gave users a false sense of accomplishment and search engines should have an academic mode. Jean-Claude Guedon (University of Montreal) thought mass digitization would allow academia to create huge concordances and provide the means to identify lesser-used words and create new pathways to knowledge.’

‘Two themes became apparent during the publishers’ panel. First, even with the advent of the Internet and the Google Print project, there will still be the need for publishers, but publishers will increasingly focus on niche markets and greater collaboration…. Dan Greenstein (California Digital Library) put forth the idea that information is increasingly becoming a commodity and a public good – information as a utility, and this public good needs to be held by a trusted third party such as libraries, archives, and museums.’