[okfn-discuss] The 'next library'

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Thu May 19 21:10:04 UTC 2011

Nicely put:


A sneak preview:

"There are one thousand things that could be done in a place like
this, all built around one mission: take the world of data, combine it
with the people in this community and create value. We need librarians
more than we ever did. What we don't need are mere clerks who guard
dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in
our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a

The 'next library' sounds like a fun place to be. I think we should
try and make one. (Maybe in Berlin?) ;-)

(Chris: cc'ing you as this reminded me of your favourite Heinlein quote! [1])


[1] "The greatest crisis facing us is not Russia, not the Atom Bomb,
not corruption in government, not encroaching hunger, nor the morals
of the young. It is a crisis in the organization and accessibility of
human knowledge. We own an enormous "encyclopedia" - which isn't even
arranged alphabetically. Our "file cards" are spilled on the floor,
nor were they ever in order. The answers we want may be buried
somewhere in the heap, but it might take a lifetime to locate two
already known facts, place them side by side and derive a third fact,
the one we urgently need. Call it the crisis of the Librarian. We need
a new "specialist" who is not a specialist, but a synthesist. We need
a new science to be a perfect secretary to all other sciences." -
Robert A. Heinlein, 1950.

Jonathan Gray

Community Coordinator
The Open Knowledge Foundation


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