Do Libraries Really Need Books?

Scott Carlson, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Jul 09, 2002
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Any doubt about the tone of this article is removed in the subtitle: "Controversial projects at some colleges move the printed word out of sight." This is, of course, a ridiculous way to describe the use of electronic texts instead of dead tree products. The article describes, as the title implies, the growing reliance of college libraries on electronic texts - largely at their students' urging. But the subtext is that instructors should require that students consult "primary sources" (that is, the printed text, which is still assumed to be primary, an assumption that needs to be questioned). "If you allow a student in your course to get an A, and he or she has not consulted primary sources, and you have not required them to use print sources, there's no way the library can make that happen."
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