“Die Bibliothek der Zukunft” von Alan N. Shapiro im Rahmen der Konferenz “Wikipedia: Ein Kritischer Standpunkt” im September 2010 in Leipzig

“The concept of libraries as they are is in many ways obsolete. I am speaking about university libraries, public libraries, and online libraries. Recently, I looked closely at the websites of about 150 university libraries, primarily in the USA, but also in the UK, Australia, Germany, and other European and Asian countries. At my website, www.alan-shapiro.com, I am selling three books that I participated in producing. One book is on Star Trek, one is on art and technology, and one is on dance theory and social choreography. I decided to write to university libraries and ask them to buy copies of these three books. I was astonished to see that the user interface design of all of these portals to university libraries is exactly alike. They are all clones of each other. Yes, all 150 of them. I did not see one single exception to the rule of this bland and uniform landscape. The library services on offer are all mechanical, procedural, and functional. This is the paradigm in force. You can search the given library’s resources by keyword; by author, title, or subject; by ISBN number; by Library of Congress classification number (in the US); or by Dewey Decimal System number (that’s more in Europe). You can borrow a book, renew your checked out book if no other borrower wants it, or request that the library order a book from their standard distributor. You can ask a human librarian a question. This last feature is pretty good. But there is a very strict binary opposition or dualism in operation here: you can’t have an intelligent interaction or conversation with the software. With the software, you can only do a text string search or a category search. If you want learning guidance, if you want an intelligent conversation, you must interact with a biologically-based human being. We are completely stuck with a mechanistic idea and implementation of what the software interface to a library system is and can be.”

Alan Shapiro am 26.09. 2010 anlässlich der “Wikipedia Critical Point of View Conference” am 26.09.2010 in Leipzig