ALSO SEEN: Future Libraries
representations 42 (Spring 1993). Special Issue: Future Libraries, ed. R. Howard Bloch and Carla Hesse. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. ISSN 0734-6018. Pp. 134. $7.50.
Noted by J.J. O'Donnell, University of Pennsylvania.
This special issue of the New Historicist house organ from Berkeley is devoted to the particular future library now a-building in Paris, the "tres grande bibliotheque" of President Mitterand's dreams, but also to serious and thought-provoking elucidation of the issues and possibilities. There are big names here (esp. Roger Chartier on "Libraries Without Walls" and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie on his daily round as director of the BN, but also important short [more like press releases than articles] pieces by the people in charge of the new TGB project. I found two other pieces even more interesting.
Geoffrey Nunberg of Xerox PARC on "The Places of Books in the Age of Electronic Reproduction" has numerous things to say that I wish I had thought of, and Jane Ginsburg, "Copyright Without Walls?: Speculations on Literary Property in the Library of the Future", makes intellectual property law downright exciting. Applying the law of copyright to the real world is an intricate business with many traps for the unwary, but Ginsburg, law professor at Columbia and filially homonymous with another legal Ginsburg of recent acclaim, is deft, lucid, and very stimulating. Academics know much less about copyright than willing or unwilling participants in the impending upheavals in information processing need to know: this article is well worth a detour, and the whole issue repays careful attention. (I found my copy at Borders bookshop and thought it dead cheap at the price; the savvy librarian who pointed me to it thinks that e-mail to email@example.com could help you get a copy expeditiously if you want one.)