digitization in Ludovico 2013


26 August 2013

Traditional libraries are increasingly putting their holdings online, if not
in competition with Google Books then in partnership, in order to keep pace
with the mass digitization of content. Yet it isn't only the big institutional
actors that are driving this process forward: small-scale, independent
initiatives based on open source principles offer interesting approaches to
re-defining the role and meaning of the library, wr

acknowledged - are being threatened by
bosses, themselves trying to cope with substantial funding cuts, with the word
"digital", touted as a panacea for saving space and money. At the same time,
in other (less traditional) places, there is a massive digitization of books
underway aimed at establishing virtual libraries much bigger than any
conventional one. These phenomena are questioning the library as point of
reference and as public repository of knowledge. Not only is its bulky
physicality being question

ion of and access to a huge number of digitally-
unavailable texts, and that a book's material condition sometimes tells part
of the story, not to mention the experience of reading it in a library. Still,
it is evident that we are facing the biggest digitization ever attempted, in a
process comparable to what Napster meant for music in the early 2000s. But
this time there are many more "institutional" efforts running simultaneously,
so that we are constantly hearing announcements that new historical material

election of illustrations of how physicality causes technology to
fail may be self-reflective, but it shows a particular aspect of a larger
development. In fact, industrial scanning is only one side of the coin. The
other is the private and personal digitization and sharing of books.

On the basis of brilliant open source tools like the DIY Bookscanner,3 there
are various technical and conceptual efforts to building specialist digital
libraries. _Monoskop_4 is exemplary: its creator Dusan Barok has transform


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