Two days ago, a colleague and I chatted briefly about this:
“Today…the library is relinquishing its place as the top source of
inquiry. The reason that the library is losing its supremacy in carrying
out this fundamental role is due, of course, to the impact of digital
technology. As digital technology has pervaded every aspect of our
civilization, it has set forth a revolution not only in how we store and
transmit recorded knowledge, historical records, and a host of other
kinds of communication but also in how we seek and gain access to these
materials.” –Jerry D. Campbell, “Changing a Cultural Icon: The Academic
Library as a Virtual Destination,” Educause Review January/February
2006, p. 16. [http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0610.pdf]
She was feeling a little depressed (the full report is actually more depressing). I was more optimistic at that time and said that there was too much money involved in legal and business information and hopefully our skills would be relevant for a little while. But I also mentioned to her that I am reading a book called “The Google Story.” (very interesting to me) Engineers at Google were encouraged to spend 20% of their working hours doing anything they want. Who knows when one of them will dream up something so revolutionary that our skills will become obsolete overnight.
One of the sessions at Computers in Libraries 2006 (Washington, D.C. , March 22-24) is called “Is Google the Next Dialog?” Should be interesting.