HathiTrust, a cooperative based at the University of Michigan, has taken steps to make sure that Google is not the only one putting together a comprehensive digital archive of academic library content. After only two and a half years, HathiTrust now counts more than 50 member libraries and a collection of 8.2 million digitized works, including 4.5 million books. According to a new study, by 2014 HathiTrust’s digital archive will mirror 60 percent of works currently held in print by the major U.S. research libraries.
But those who see either of these mass digitization projects as a sign that the “library of the future” — a place where aisles of bookshelves have been replaced by study spaces, comfy chairs, and computer terminals from which students can instantly access catalogs of digital content larger than any physical collection a library could realistically hope for — is just over the horizon are getting ahead of themselves, says Constance Malpas, a program officer for the Online Computer Library Center.
In a new paper, Malpas acknowledges that all-digital libraries may be the future. But that future is not here yet, and unless libraries come up with a more efficient system for sharing and preserving printed books in the meantime, the space and money pressures currently facing university libraries will worsen, Malpas says.
The paper mentioned in the article by Constance Malpas, OCLC Research was published in January, 2011.
Direct to Full Text:
Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment (.pdf; 76 pp.)