Saturday, May 22, 2010

Stanford's bookless library

This article from Mercury News is from a few days ago. I noticed it on the Kept-Up Academic Librarian blog. I keep thinking about it. Stanford is going to go bookless for their Physics and Engineering libraries and put in a smaller electronic library that covers physics, computer science, and engineering. This doesn't seem to do with some idea to throw away all the books. Instead Stanford is going to store books in order to save space and has selected disciplines where electronic access makes sense. Maybe there are other disciplines where this approach makes sense as well - or maybe it'll make sense in a few more years. I had an experience the other day with a professor who wanted to review a batch of research methods textbooks. I don't see that these are available online... at least not yet. I remember when periodical indexes were moving online. We kept the print versions around until it was clear that even if the Internet went down, no one was willing to go back to the tedium of looking through the indexes by hand. I think it was smart of our administrators to let us wait until our patrons caught up.

Krieger, L. (2010, May 19). Stanford University prepares for 'bookless library.' San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved May 22, 2010, from

(Geez, does anyone know an easy way to get a bibliographic citation out of Zotero and into your blog post?)

1 comment:

Mr. Gunn said...

I think the approach does make lots of sense, my only concern is with textbooks. I worry about the content of those being too malleable according to political whim or political correctness. That's a big concern for e-readers, too, because often a student doesn't own the material, and it can be remotely changed or revoked at any time.

About the citation thing, I can't help with Zotero, but with Mendeley it's as easy as cut-and-pasting from Mendeley Desktop.