VALA 2008 Conference – Day 1 – Peter Lor Plenary

Peter Lor – Secretary General International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
“International Librarianship 2.0: some international dimensions of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0”

Libraries have entered a period of disruptive innovation. Everything is changing too quickly.

Information, once in digital form, can travel by itself.  It doesn’t need someone to direct it.

Implications: Google search instead of LISA – curiousity, serendipity, fun
Long tail (Anderson 2006) – obscure, esoteric, trivial, non-commercial content, which would never have been distributed if not for being digital.
Staggering amount of information – problematic cornucopia
Web is an interactive space – multidirectional, consumer as creators
Collaboration – wikipedia, comments, advice
Personal/private space – blogs, photo albums, social networking: My Space, Facebook – privacy, exposure risk

Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 as manifestations of Information Society/Knowledge Society/Information Economy
Modern ICTs effecting a profound transformation – some trends and countertrends:

Dematerialisation – information unbundled from physical carriers – can travel by itself, physical constraints limited, flow no longer linear, weightless – dematerilaised economy
Example – sub-prime mortgage debt crisis
Virtual documents replace diaries, photo albums. They are ephemeral, a conservation challenge – what how much how, international – place of publication is obsolete
Digital libraries – virtual content – it has to reside somewhere – physical server space.  But we are still building big physical libraries.  Counter trend – everything else is getting smaller, but libraries are also a social space.  Easy to pull the plug on content, censorship, withdrawal of articles from e-journals: plagiarism, scientific fraud, errors – however there is a need for a complete scientific record. IFLA and International Publishers statement recommending retraction rather than removal.

Globalisation – World Bank defined as he “growing integration of economies and societies around the world” (2001)
Involves the flow of goods and services, people, capital, technology, culture, information.
Globalisation brings benefits: faster economic growth, living standards, poverty reduction, peaceful resolution of conflicts, For countries that “engage well with the international economy”.  Contested terrain – lots of protests.  Disadvantages for those that don’t engage well – heavy social costs, growing gap between rich and poor, environmental damage, protectionism, erosion of national cultures and languages.  McDonalds – best known food brand in the world, symbol of globalisation and Americanism.
Symbolises a one-way information and power flow.

Information flows between developed and developing countries – needs to be two way.  Exploitative information flows – export of unique documentary heritage, use of local resources and informants, exploitation of indigenous knowledge, brain drain.
Desirable flow – scholarly contributions by scientists and scholars from developing countries Obstance – under-represented in scholarly databases.  Internet has potential to level the playing field. eg. African Journals Online – almost 300 titles, affording article delivery, not for profit, similar projects in S and SE Asia, capacity building projects.
Open Archiving – big potential for access and exposure. Fundamental change of attitude needed – respect, sharing.  Synthesis – knowledge from both.

Counter trends – regionalism, nationalism, fundamentalism. Reactions to globalisation, increased security and privacy post 9/11, glocalisation – net exposure for small languages.

Commodification – knowledge as a strategic resource, intellectual property, ICTs enable exploitation of the long tail, aggressive enclosure of intellectual property.  Mickey Mouse is why copyright is now 70 years after the authors death.  No difference between journal article authors and Walt Disney, this has unhelpful implications.
Enclosure of intellectual property – extension of term of copyright, European database directive, DRM systems, denial of copyright exceptions (digital is different).  Locking up things that shouldn’t be locked and making it illegal to unlock them – even if copyright exceptions should apply.
Orphan works – calculating the safe period, may infringe copyright if not published earlier than 1870, which has implications for digitisation projects.  IFLA/IPA have issued a joint statement – if libraries have done a diligent search and can’t find the copyright owner and then digitise, they will not subsequently be penalised if the the copyright owner surfaces.  International measures to protect owners of IP taken by developed countries, rather than developing countries, as this is where most IP owners are. Trying to apply standards to developing countries which were not applied to them when they were developing.  International measures used includes TRIPS Plus, Free trade agreements, and reproduction rights organisations.

Counter trends – altriusm, culture of sharing, open source, open access movement, IFLA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Research.

IFLA – 3 main themes: freedom, equity, inclusion. Global voice of librarians and libraries.  Freedom of access to information and expression – FAIFE; networking, monitoring and intervention, research, publication and education. Equity – fair and sustainable legal and economic relationships between creators, intermediaries and users of informatin.  Inclusion: library as agency of social inclusion, inclusion of the library in the information society, “Libraries on the agenda” – IFLA Presidential them.  Responding to the profession’s concerns – established an advocacy unit, to raise awareness, preparing ammunition, empowering professionals, coordinating.   However, its an important role of all IFLA members.

World is more interconnected that ever before.  Distant decisions can no have implications ie. affordability of school books in developing countries, protecting Mickey Mouse and the extension of copyright.