Why the Internet Doesn't Replace the Library




  • 30-40 million Web pages
  • 25 million books with many pages each
  • 10's of thousands of newspapers
  • over 1 million journals
  • In existence since 1981
  • Came into common use after 1993
  • In existence for thousands of years
  • Universal public service since late 1800's
  • You need: a computer ($2000) and an Internet account ($20/month)
  • You need: eyes, ears or fingers
  • Has no standard information retrieval tools
  • Has standard information retrieval tools
  • Is an undifferentiated mass of documents and information
  • Is an organized collection of cultural expression
  • Entirely self-service
  • Provides extensive face-to-face service to users
  • Doesn't quite know what to do with kids
  • Has well-established service to children and young adults
  • May not uphold the First Amendment
  • Is definitely a First Amendment institution
  • No privacy protection for users
  • Strong policies on patron confidentiality
  • Takes advertising
  • Does not take advertising
  • Gets lots of media attention
  • Gets almost no media attention

    What the Internet Can Do for the Library

    What the Library Can Do for the Internet

    • Fast, universal access to time-sensitive information
  • Provide intellectual context for current events
  • Bring the world into every library, regardless of size or location
  • Provide a physical location in the community for information inquiry
  • Give librarians full employment
  • Offer skilled professionals and proven tools
  • Karen Coyle, 1997
    karen.coyle@ucop.edu -- http://www.kcoyle.net