Saturday, 13 March 2010

The cultural responsibilities of libraries as curators of the digital record

Jonathan Zittrain from the Berkman Center at Harvard gave this riveting lecture at Duke University on March 3. It's quite long -- an hour and a quarter -- so you need to allocate some serious time to it, but IMHO it's worth it. It starts slowly as he lays out an analytical framework that, at first sight, seems to have little to do with libraries, but about 27 minutes in to the presentation he really hits his stride. For anyone interested in the role of libraries in a digital era, this is eye-opening stuff becasue it gives some concrete examples of cases where libraries will need to assume really serious responsibilities as curators of the digital record, not just in terms of preservation, but also in defence of historical accuracy.

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