The implications of information democracy and digital socialism for public libraries

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The implications of information democracy and digital socialism for public libraries is a 2010 conference paper written in English by Oguz E.S., Kajberg L. and published in Communications in Computer and Information Science.

[edit] Abstract

In these times, public libraries in many countries have increasingly come under pressure from developments within the information landscape. Thus, not least because of the massive digitization of information resources, the proliferation and popularity of search engines, in particular Google, and the booming technologies of Web 2.0, public libraries find themselves in a very complex situation. In fact, the easy-to-use technologies of Web 2.0 challenge the basic principles of information services provision undertaken by libraries. The new digital information environment and social software tools such as blogs, wikis and social networking sites have fuelled a discussion of the future of public libraries as information providers. After all there seems to be a need for public libraries to reorient their aims and objectives and to redefine their service identity. At the same time search engines, and especially Google, are increasingly coming under scrutiny. Thus, analysis results referred to show that the conception of information and the underlying purpose of Google differ from those of public libraries. Further, an increasing amount of criticism is being directed at collaborative spaces (typically Wikipedia) and social networks (e.g. MySpace) and it is pointed out that these social media are not that innocent and unproblematic. In discussing the survival of public libraries and devising an updated role for libraries in the age of Google and social media, attention should be given to fleshing out a new vision for the public library as a provider of alternative information and as an institution supporting information democracy.

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