May 22, 2022

An Op-Ed by David Weinberger: “There’s a Library-Shaped Hole in the Internet”

David Weinberger, thinker, blogger, author, thinker, speaker and member of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society has a new an op-ed (820 words) published by the Boston Globe.

From the Op-Ed:

If you want to know anything about movies, the Internet’s got you covered. Likewise for details about the world’s roadways, song lyrics, or Pokemon characters. But if you want to know about books and the other items of culture we’ve entrusted to libraries, it’s much harder to find out. We’re not even sure what to link to when posting about a book.

In short, there’s a library-shaped hole in the Internet.


Librarians understand the context in which books make sense, how they go together, what are the canonical readings, and what are the dissenting works worth reading. Library information systems may not know as much about users’ behavior as Amazon does, but even highly anonymized usage records can say a lot about what a community values: which works people are reading, which ones they like or think are important, and even the relations they see among the works. In essence, the library can hold a mirror up to the community, allowing it to get a clearer and stronger sense of itself.

That means libraries should seize the initiative to fill that hole in the Internet with everything they know and are allowed to make public.

Read the Complete Op-Ed (via Boston Globe)

Hat Tip: Michael Alguire

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.