Free Journal Article Addresses the Shortcomings of E-Collections

Is Digital Technology the New Wave of Stupid?

By IGI Global on Jan 23, 2013
Is Digital Technology the New Wave of Stupid?According to the UrbanTimes, the average attention span of the internet user is about five minutes; a significant decline from the 12 minute average estimated in 2011. The Internet has created the ultimate convenience- precise information available directly and quickly. At this point, Cliff’s Notes are too long to read- just search a book online and read a couple abstracts and summations; you’ll get the gist of the text. Our attention span is not what it was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago.

This instantaneous accessibility is what younger generations have grown accustomed to. In a world of constant communication through Facebook and Twitter, as well as the ability to research online with instant results, there is no need to pour through a phone directory or research book for information; there is no need to waste time in the library if you have a computer at home.

In The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, author Nicolas Carr remarks, “Our brains, historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways.” He claims that printed books serve to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources.

That being said, do e-books have a role in the degradation of attention span? With the beginning of a new year, the buzz on digital publishing technology has escalated. In a steady climb, the e-book battle has transformed the traditional publishing industry and made way for the digital future. This transformation has also changed our public and academic libraries. IGI Global recently published a journal article titled “Are E-Books Making Us Stupid? Why Electronic Collections Mean Trouble for Libraries and Their Patrons”, in which author Nancy McCormack explores whether libraries are acting wisely by moving from print to electronic book collections.

In her article, McCormack observes, “As we discard print and head toward an electronic collection of monographs, there is almost a profound silence from information professionals on whether what we are doing is ultimately good for patrons, particularly those who are thereby forced to use e-materials for research and study.”

McCormack uses this research article as a forum for discussion over the possibility of whether an all or largely e-book future will bring an end to traditional library collections and services. She also addresses whether this integration will hurt or help both the library and its patrons in the process, and whether e-books are making librarians and patrons, well, stupid.

IGI Global is currently offering free access to the article “Are E-Books Making Us Stupid? Why Electronic Collections Mean Trouble for Libraries and Their Patrons” by Nancy McCormack published in the International Journal of Digital Library Systems. To download this article, please click here: Individual journal articles are also available for purchase through IGI Global's InfoSci® -OnDemand, which allows full-text searching through our entire collection of research articles, book chapters, and teaching cases.

Edited by Kwong Bor Ng and Colleen Cool, the International Journal of Digital Library Systems highlights the emergent technologies used in libraries around the world. This journal’s advanced research in knowledge representation and digital information is essential to academicians, scientists, librarians, and practitioners interested in library research, design, and applications.
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