Coherence at Scale and the Research Library of the Future

“The dilemmas that higher education library and IT professionals are now facing and the way we characterize them—centralizing or decentralizing—or the ways we distinguish between them—the library or the IT department—have very much to do with the origins of the modern research university and its growth and development in the period that many people call “the age of modernity.” In the mid-to-late nineteenth century, many people thought that the increasingly complex world that was emerging could be managed by reducing each problem to discrete parts and tasks. The library embodied this idea: the separation of spaces into distinct work areas and the development of library stacks, file drawers, and filing cabinets were closely linked with modern corporate techniques of classifying information and categorizing tasks. The birth of the silos that we often bemoan in our libraries, our colleges and universities, and other parts of our world seems to have begun in a moment when we thought that we could build a universal library, a vast research university, a giant corporation, and even a powerful nation-state by breaking up the work into discrete tasks.” (via EDUCAUSE)

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