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Sharing knowledge and information, three views of the future

Bawden, D. (2009). Sharing knowledge and information, three views of the future. Paper presented at the Inforum 2009, May 2009, Prague, Czech Republic.


This paper considers the ways in which library/information services can contribute to the sharing of knowledge over the next two decades. It builds on the imaginative thoughts of several commentators who have considered future scenarios, while including the implications of recent events. These latter include the current world economic problems, which are already affecting library/information services, sometimes in surprising ways. They also include the result of the steady move towards a largely digital information world. Within this, we should note particularly the introduction of 'cloud' computing, which offers a way to share knowledge and information, as well as music, movies and so on, 'on demand', avoiding the idea of 'ownership' or 'collection'.

Three possible views of the future are presented.

The first is a continuation of the current situation, with library/information services continuing, and perhaps growing in importance, in something very similar to their current form.

The second is a change to the current situation, with some forms of library/information service diminishing, or even disappearing, and others expanding, and changing their nature considerably.

The third, and most radical, sees the disappearance of most current forms of library/information service, and their replacement by a very different 'information landscape.'

The likelihood of these views prevailing, and their consequences for library / information specialists, and for the sharing of knowledge generally, are discussed.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Keynote presentation
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
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