Re: Future position of libraries towards copyright 2

Subject: Re: Future position of libraries towards copyright 2
From: David Lury (
Date: pe 16 tammi  1998 - 20:50:00 EET

At 22:47 15/01/98 +0000, you wrote:
>If we are to predict the future, we have to remove our blinkers. And even
then we
>will get it wrong. The only thing I can say for certain is that what I am
>predicting will not happen. But parts of it will......

Edward Barrow is quite right to make this fundamental point, and right in
the specific examples he deals with.

I am therefore disappointed that he puts on one of the pairs of blinkers
that in my view currently distort political thinking in the UK and
elsewhere, when he says: "and yet taxpayers want to pay less and less".
Professional politicians nowadays do commonly argue that there is popular
pressure to reduce taxes, even though what evidence there is seems to show
that most people are quite prepared to pay higher taxes on income (which
are seen as fairer than most other forms of tax), in exchange for the
provision of various services to the community as a whole, provided the
rates do not go above a reasonable level. The problem for the moment is
therefore that groups who argue a case for receiving public funds need in
fact to find ways of convincing the rest of the public to persuade the
politicians to collect and spend the money.

Subject to Edward Barrow's caveats, I would suggest six things I believe we
would be wise to develop and make generally available at low cost before we
even begin to contemplate doing away with libraries with shelves in rooms
we can walk round, let alone taking the risk of conserving information
exclusively in electronic form.

As practical infrastructure:

a) Tools for creating and handling electronic data which are not a danger
to human health.

b) Ways of storing electronic data which are independent of the particular
technology of the time when the data is created.

c) Tools for consulting electronic records that can be carried and used in
any surroundings at least as comfortably and easily as a book or newspaper
can be read today.

d) Appropriate and uninterruptible energy supplies available anywhere at
any time.

And to allow human intelligence to continue to flourish, the electronic
equivalents of:

e) the table covered with various texts held open while their different
contents are compared, assimilated, and processed by a human brain into a
new original view of whatever it may be;

f) the chance juxtaposition of apparently unrelated items within the covers
of a printed volume or on bookshelves, which so often increases the sum of
human understanding, provides inspiration, or simply gives pleasure.

David Lury

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