Friday, November 21, 2008

Impress Your Professor: Europeana

Now you can go around the world (and through history) in one mouse click. A story on the BBC news website announced earlier this week that Europeana was online and available.

Europeana is an online digital library. Over 1,000 cultural institutions have made their material available online. According to the article, "Internet users will be able to access more than two million books, maps, recordings, photographs, archive documents, paintings and films." In a word: Awesome!

The idea that we can now access material from across the globe without leaving our PJs is nothing new. I think this idea (and the fact that it is becoming reality) is thrilling and I can't wait to see how this website grows. I do want to know, however, what does this mean for physical libraries and the services they offer? What do libraries do when scholars stop visiting the hallowed reading rooms? What happens when our CLS and ILL services are no longer needed because our users can go directly to the online resource? What happens to the physical stuff once we digitize it?

It seems safe to say that libraries and their materials will survive, but I wonder how we will evolve. What say you?

(Note: As of writing this entry, the website was so busy access was spotty.)

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