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Printed? Digital? It’s All the Same!: The academic library—of false front lines, unfulfilled doom, and new challenges

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Libraries as memory institutions and infrastructure for science have for the most part undergone the digital transformation. For some people, the apparent dichotomy between the allegedly good old world of the printed book, which included readers and dignified education, and the world of the ubiquitous digital, which is often perceived to be dangerous and in which we are flooded with data and stimuli and wander about in confusion, may still stir heated discussions. For libraries, that dichotomy is long gone. Today the libraries’ concern is to let knowledge contents do their work in the various innovative and—more often than not—mobile user scenarios of the internet. The content’s format is irrelevant. The new mantra is ‘content in context’. The focus is as much on knowledge, learning, and research as on culture and education for everyone. The big challenge for the libraries of tomorrow is the trend towards the disappearance of that textual culture. It will be replaced by the new knowledge paradigm of the data stream that is dynamic, multimedia, and constantly changing.


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