As I sat by the pool tonight, reading my copy of the SLA publication,Information Today, June 2010 (membership needed to view), the wheels in my head started to turn. The topic of the issue is eResources and covers everything from selection, promotion, accessibility, and ROI. Information centers are sitting at a crossroad: Digital technologies (and often times mobile technologies) are quickly becoming integrated into every-day lives. How many physical materials need to be kept in a library? Is it more cost effective to purchase a digital copy? Is the information static or is it dynamic, needing to be replaced often (such as law, medical, science, etc.)?
I was wondering if a person could go an entire year utilizing only e-resources (not including the standard bills in the mail). All books would be read via an e-reader, all news received via websites, and all entertainment streamed or downloaded. Then I thought about professional materials. Could I view professional organizations’ monthly magazines? Yes. Could I do scholarly research if needed? Yes.
Could I really leave the physical print, CDs, and television behind? It’s certainly something I’d be interested in trying.
As I found out tonight, there are still some difficulties with access to materials. Through the Las Vegas — Clark County Library District, I have access to eBooks and digital downloads (audio books, music, videos), but only the eBooks and audio books are compatible on a Mac. As iPads and iPhones become more prevalent, this is leaving out a decent chunk of the users, figuring that in the USA about 8% of people utilize a Mac (and it’s growing at a pace of one million Macs a month). Sorry, but unless these users can run a Windows emulation software, they need to figure out a DRM work-around in order to hear the music or view the videos. These days, when so much software is created for interoperability or platform independent, it’s a real shame that publishers cannot sit down with Apple to figure out a way to distribute materials for library use (I seem to remember that there was DRM / licensing issues as to why it was so hard to play library materials. If anyone has a source, I’d appreciate it.).
So, if I get around to purchasing an iPad or Kindle (or the supposed Android tablet), maybe I’ll give the idea a go. Unless someone wants to sponsor some research… 😉 I’d be more than happy to oblige with daily posts and spreadsheets on downloads and findings.