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The changing scholarly and cultural record Lorcan Dempsey Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas December 5, 2007 Thanks to Constance Malpass.

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Presentation on theme: "The changing scholarly and cultural record Lorcan Dempsey Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas December 5, 2007 Thanks to Constance Malpass."— Presentation transcript:

1 The changing scholarly and cultural record Lorcan Dempsey Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas December 5, 2007 Thanks to Constance Malpass and Brian Lavoie for some contributions

2 And in this way my own relationship with Georges Bataille will not be adversely affected either, something I would like to maintain, both because of his assistance at the Bibliothèque Nationale, and because of my plans for naturalization. - The fragment would not escape his attention since the Institute journal is openly displayed in the reading room where he often works; and he is hardly the type of person to react serenely to its contents.

3 Focusing on the arcades of nineteenth- century Paris-glass-roofed rows of shops that were early centers of consumerism-- Benjamin presents a montage of quotations from, and reflections on, hundreds of published sources, arranging them in thirty-six categories with descriptive rubrics such as "Fashion," "Boredom," "Dream City," "Photography," "Catacombs," "Advertising," "Prostitution," "Baudelaire," and "Theory of Progress." His central preoccupation is what he calls the commodification of things--a process in which he locates the decisive shift to the modern age.


5 The record George Bataille deposited the manuscript. Quotations: is it possible to imagine a book which rests so much on quotations without the libraries which preserve the scholarly and cultural record the quotations point to and make it available to readers?

6 A pragmatic look at some issues involved in managing the changing scholarly and cultural record.

7 The very beginnings of the collection, in Duke Humfrey's Library above the divinity school, showed how Thomas Bodley's own bibliographic vision had to react to a technological shift. The new collection was built to accommodate the transition from the long-established, tried-and-tested technology of unique handwritten texts to the hot new mass- produced technology of the printed codex: in other words, the book. Duke Humfrey's Library has high stacks of shelves, which the reader can't directly access: the world's first closed stacks. These were designed to accommodate the increasing number of books too small to chain securely to open shelves …. Issues of copyright and of access to information were thus built into the institutional DNA from the start. [John Lanchester: Who owns what in the digital age? | News | Guardian Unlimited Books]John Lanchester: Who owns what in the digital age? | News | Guardian Unlimited Books


9 … the function of the library must be understood as one that assists members of the community both in taking particular positions and in recognizing and assessing the positions taken by others. Ross Atkinson

10 highlow high stewardship uniqueness Books Journals Newspapers Gov. docs CD, DVD Maps Scores Special collections Rare books Local/Historical newspapers Local history materials Archives & Manuscripts, Theses & dissertations Research, learning and administrative materials, ePrints/tech reports Learning objects Courseware E-portfolios Research data Institutional records Reports, newsletters, etc Freely-accessible web resources Open source software Newsgroup archives

11 Selectively acquire and persistently manage? Bought? Licensed? Memory Libraries, archives, museums. Institutional and personal processes generate materials: Records, data sets, ….

12 Books Rareness is common E-volution

13 Rareness is common … in the G5 G5 aggregate collection: 10.5 million books ~60 percent represent unique contribution by one or another of the G5 libraries 61% Held by 1 20% Held by 2 10% Held by 3 6% Held by 4 3% Held by 5

14 … and beyond System-wide print book collection (as of January 2005) ~32 million print books 37% Held by 1 5% Held by > 100 3% Held by % Held by % Held by % Held by 2 - 5

15 Language distribution LanguageGoogle 5System-wide English German French Spanish Chinese Russian Italian Japanese Hebrew Arabic Portuguese Polish Dutch Latin Korean Swedish0.01< 0.01 All others More than 430 languages in Google 5 collection More than 430 languages in Google 5 collection

16 Cumulative age distribution of G5 holdings > 80 percent of Google 5 collection post 1923 > 80 percent of Google 5 collection post 1923

17 Space – opportunity costs Value in research and learning: disciplinary differences Mass digitization Off site storage Converting owned materials into licensable materials

18 Mining text

19 Thematic research collections

20 Beyond books It is only when we translate the old style-based thinking and language of historians into new modes of representation that we can begin to grasp the complex relationships between architectural production and the creation of … cultural identities. Stephen Murray, Columbia University

21 Then: E. Viollet Le Duc Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle (1874) ( 1 st American Ed. 1875)

22 Now: Interactive, multi-dimensional navigation of a networked resource



25 Increased emphasis on collective management: preservation, storage, resource sharing, digitization Emergence of alternative institutional models for print sales? E-volved formats: – Thematic research collections – New representational modes – Deeply mined digital collections alongside print collections – Special collections of the future?

26 Stewarding Unique collections Moving into network environment Reconfigurations

27 Then: Rich description with little scholarly content and few opportunities to remix or re- use; continued reliance on library mediation for scholarly access to material

28 Now: Federated access to multi-institutional holdings with support for personal collection-building and sharing

29 On bokes rede I ofte, as I yow tolde. But wherefore that I speke al this? Nat yoore Agon it happede me for to beholde Upon a bok, was write with lettres olde

30 Unbinding Chaucers bokes (and bookes) 41 occurrences 111 occurrences 33 occurrences

31 In vanilla world, the institutionally unique becomes more important? Digital visibility creates use – The digital copy creates interest in the aura of the original? Computational potential reveals new possibilities Significant curatorial challenges for the library

32 Published materials: discourse Primary materials: evidence Interpreted materials: exhibition Library Archive Museum

33 The products of research, learning, and administration Technical reports Records Learning materials …..



36 University of Minnesota



39 Research and learning behaviors change – Then: Final product: publish and archive – Now: Process generates reusable outputs E.g. data sets, learning materials, blog commentary, … Institutional memory – Reports, course catalog, … Traces – Surveillance, logs, social, …


41 The open network

42 The Northern Ireland Political Collection (NIPC) is a unique resource. No other institution in a localised conflict has systematically collected material from all sides. Much less has it been done in the field, and often literally across the barricades. The web?


44 Kewl!!!!


46 The library takes a networked resource and adds value for the local constituency: Faceted browse based on genre/document type Full-text searching of achived sites Selection of seed URLs and frequency of crawls informed by subject specialists and scholars

47 The medium of identity construction The venue of dissemination of scholarly and cultural materials Evidence What and who to collect?

48 So…

49 Securing the scholarly and cultural record Community? Institution? The record aint what it used to be? Intervention required Preserving print?

50 More assumes the attributes of the special Curatorial responsibility for more unique materials ? Institutional Capacities? Collaborative sourcing? Examples Thematic research collection Curated databases Institutional identity

51 Managing digital? An archival perspective ? Provenance Evidential integrity Versioning

52 The scholarly and cultural record is incorrigibly plural. Curation requires a plural response.

53 Libraries So why have I written this? I cant show it if its going to contradict or undermine my case. There are a number of reasons. First and foremost, I am a librarian. I live for records and documents.



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