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Networks without wires: Human networks in the Information Society

Law, Derek (1999) Networks without wires: Human networks in the Information Society. In: Open Meeting of the Sri Lanka Library Association, 1999-01-31. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

It is the purpose of this paper to argue that the very significant skills we have brought as a profession to making the printed word uniformly and universally available have been overlooked. An electronic environment is being created which is inimical to scholarship and which is largely being designed by commercial and entertainment forces, which are irrelevant to the scholarly process. Even if that environment is modified and the issues described are resolved, it will remain an essentially hostile commercial environment. The academy remains largely unaware of the dangers - particularly in the area of preservation of both primary and secondary research resources. Our electronic house is built on shifting sands and a much more active approach is required from the profession to demonstrate that we can, like Sisyphus, reclimb the hill of bibliographic control and access and use that most basic skill of library school courses - the Organisation of Knowledge - to define scholarly requirements for the emerging information society. It is in fact by ensuring that our human networks are active and effective and by managing the flow of paper-based information effectively that we can best serve our readers, earn their professional respect, and position ourselves to act as guides to rather than bystanders at the information revolution.