Friday, January 20, 2006

The Long Tail

This morning I spent some time working on next week's lecture for the distance (online) class I'm teaching at SU. Two of the reading for this week were:
Commenting on these in my lecture, I wrote:

You might think the "Long Tail" articles more appropriate for a digital libraries class, but I included them here as a reminder of how much stuff has been created. They also get at the idea of access; the need to access older materials. Digitization can help us use those materials that are part of the Long Tail, either by digitizing the items themselves or by digitizing finding aidsÂ…even by creating and digitizing catalogue records.

Will we one day have everything digitized and available at any moment? (Like the crew of the starship Enterprise accessing anything from any point in time from their computers?) Who knows. For now digitization programs are deciding what materials they should digitize given the amount of money that they have. They know that they cannot afford to digitize everything, so the selection process (future lecture) is very important.

Even if everything is eventually digitized, I can imagine that people will still value the original artifacts. Like Admiral Kirk with his books in the Star Trek movies.

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Anonymous said...

You can delete this message if you wish, but some of your formatting didn't work properly.

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

Mitch, thanks. It looked find in Firefox, but horrible in Internet Explorer. The problem is that I cut-n-pasted text from a document into the posting, which brought in extra formatting.