Library Hi Tech has been celebrating its thirtieth year with a number of special issues, and the latest issue looks back on the development of information technology for libraries. Below is the structured abstract for my editorial. I will include a link when the issue is available online.
Purpose: This issue of Library Hi Tech offers a retrospective over the last thirty years of information technology as used in libraries and other memory institutions, particularly archives and museums. This editorial will add the editors’ reflections.
Method: The method uses historical documentation and relies heavily on personal recollection.
Findings: Thirty years ago information technology in libraries largely had to do with ways in which libraries could make their ordinary operations more efficient. Today the information science frontier has broken out of the comfortable institutional paradigm of the past and made libraries aware that they need to redefine themselves in a world where their buildings no longer represent a storehouse of knowledge unavailable elsewhere.
Implications: Information technology advances have not made libraries obsolete, but they have made it imperative that libraries redefine their role to be digital information managers and service providers for their readers.