The Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for 21st Century Scholarship

June 2010. 123 pp. $25.
ISBN 978-1-932326-35-2
CLIR pub147

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The Idea of Order explores the transition from an analog to a digital environment for knowledge access, preservation, and reconstitution, and the implications of this transition for managing research collections. The volume comprises three reports. The first, “Can a New Research Library be All-Digital?” by Lisa Spiro and Geneva Henry, explores the degree to which a new research library can eschew print. The second, “On the Cost of Keeping a Book,” by Paul Courant and Matthew “Buzzy” Nielsen, argues that from the perspective of long-term storage, digital surrogates offer a considerable cost savings over print-based libraries. The final report, “Ghostlier Demarcations,” examines how well large text databases being created by Google Books and other mass-digitization efforts meet the needs of scholars, and the larger implications of these projects for research, teaching, and publishing.

The reports are introduced by Charles Henry; the volume includes a conclusion by Roger Schonfeld and an epilogue by Charles Henry.

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The following material is is not included in the published report but is provided here for addtional reference (most files are .pdf).

Results of Commissioned Research, adjunct to “Ghostlier Demarcations,” pp. 106-115 in The Idea of Order.


Melissa Baralt (Languages and Linguistics)

Patricia A. Soler (Spanish and Portuguese Literary Works)

Dawn Schmitz (Media and Cultural Studies)

Alan Gevinson (American Intellectual History)