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Won’t Get Fooled Again: Day 27

Interesting articles in this month’s Atlantic Monthly that talk about how the economic collapse represents a time for creation and reallocation in a knowledge economy. More to the point, the interview reveals some provocative thoughts about the distributive nature of the web and eternal attraction of living in dense places. Another term, Creative destruction, as it is called by some of the economists from the University of Chicago, is another way of looking at this evolutionary relationship between the social and economic forces of a community and the institutions they create to foster their individual and mutual purposes. I guess, in a very real sense, the combination of the Obama’s election and our deepening economic failure suggests we are in for some serious dislocation. The articles also have some visuals that relate how the recent economic activity over the last few years is “reshaping America.”

Evidence of this already appearing on various listservs as librarians from state governments on the verge of bankruptcy (in an economic sense because they can’t balance their budgets; or in a political sense because the constitutional officers can’t agree on how balance the budget) and the various state libraries are on the target list for serious staff reductions and/or closures.

As our earlier discussion about “raw power” indicated — information distribution relies just on the reach of distribution grid, but more significantly on the value added by a series of institutional players and knowledgeable individuals.

See you on Day 28.

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1 Comment

  1. dcornwall says:

    Hi John,

    Your statement:

    Evidence of this already appearing on various listservs as librarians from state governments on the verge of bankruptcy (in an economic sense because they can’t balance their budgets; or in a political sense because the constitutional officers can’t agree on how balance the budget) and the various state libraries are on the target list for serious staff reductions and/or closures.

    Prompted two thoughts for me. First, I’m extremely grateful that my state has only imposed a hiring/travel/purchasing freeze.

    Second, and more seriously, was the thought that as economic times become tougher, governments at all levels will become tempted to see their information products as commodities to sell. Or maybe they will follow the lead of GAO and privatize key holdings.

    What would happen if the feds adopted this model? Libraries that depended on federal servers would suddenly find themselves struggling to pay new subscription fees to get access to older materials. Libraries on the US Docs Private LOCKSS Network (PLN) would continue to have access to all content downloaded from GPO Access before the paywall was imposed. If GPO instituted Digital Deposit on a routine basis this year, more institutions could share the same benefit.

    And the best part is that not every library would have to join the digital deposit program to enjoy the benefits of a geographically dispersed library-oriented system. But all libraries would lose if we have to rely on increasingly cash-strapped governments looking at anything but higher taxes to survive.

    ————————————

    "And besides all that, what we need is a decentralized, distributed system of depositing electronic files to local libraries willing to host them." — Daniel Cornwall, tipping his hat to Cato the Elder for the original quote.

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