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Magazines > Computers in Libraries > October 2011

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Vol. 31 No. 8 — October 2011
Living in Interesting Times
by Dick Kaser

It was an ambitious assignment we set for ourselves this month when we selected the theme Platforms Revolutionizing Library Operations.

There were many ways to go with it, ranging from the next-gen ILSs we have been discussing for the past few years all the way up to the cloud-based web-scale initiatives recently launched or coming down the pike.

We live in such interesting times that the platforms capable of transforming library services or revolutionizing library operations no longer have to be necessarily proprietary or tailor-made, nor do they need to come from a single, expert source.

So it should be no surprise that so many of our contributors this month chose to report on “platforms” that don’t just come out of a box, don’t originate from within the library community, or don’t even fit the mold of what libraries typically do.

As we were gathering articles, I especially appreciated receiving an update from columnist Terry Huwe on several research libraries’ efforts to provide public access to the digital book repositories that Google helped them scan. However, by the time we went to press, these HathiTrust libraries had been sued by writers’ groups from several countries on the grounds of copyright infringement. Go figure.

I suppose we could conclude that perhaps it would be better if our times were less interesting. Another way of looking at it is to observe that progress was never made without controversy.

As our cover reminds us—and as Mom always said—where there is a will, there’s a way.

Trite truisms aside, this month’s issue has many things to recommend for those who want to adopt new ways of doing things for their libraries, their patrons, and their communities. May you be inspired by our writers.

Dick Kaser, Executive Editor


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