The Digital Library: The Next Sigmoid Curve of the Information Profession

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Swanepoel, Marinus
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The International Association of Technological University Libraries (IATUL)
Although it cannot be stated as fact that the digital library is the next Sigmoid Curve of libraries, it will be folly for librarians not to consider this likely possibility very seriously and to ensure that they are prepared should it happen. The wise librarian must see to it that he has young up coming and dynamic leaders in his organization, prepared to ride the next wave so that the library may benefit. What is clear at this stage (1996), is that even if books and the traditional formats are not replaced by computer media, computer media, at the very least, will be a very important permanent supplement thereto. This point of view is based on the fact that the important thing about media is that they should be appropriate. Appropriateness is not an absolute concept, but it can be defined in terms of suitability for a purpose. With the huge gap in the sophistication of technology between the First and Third World, it stands to reason that the digital medium is not an appropriate one for the latter. The world as a whole, however, changes more spontaneously, and never so erratically, as during a period of dramatic technological change. These words caution us to expect even more (dramatic) change in the information profession. An open mind should be kept regarding problems and opportunities this offer our profession.
Digital Libraries Sigmoid Curve S-Curve Growth of electronic media