The promise of the Internet-as-Alexandria is more than the roiling plenitude of information. It's the ability of individuals to choreograph that information in idiosyncratic ways, the hope that individuals might feel invited by the gravitational pull of a broad and open commons to "rip, mix, and burn"--to curate. This new sort of curator, in effect, is one definition of a blogger: an amateur experimental librarian for the Internet... It's not that the Dewey decimal system isn't in some sense designed for associative browsability; it's that the Dewey decimal system is a helpful but ossified structure best suited to the bureaucratic centralization of thousands of different libraries.... Every Library of Alexandria on some broad boulevard needs Prelinger libraries tucked away in the alleys behind.
Apr 12, 2007
"A World in Three Aisles"
Gideon Lewis-Kraus writes up the Prelinger Library in this month's Harper's. The Georgia State University Library blog provides a couple excerpts, and, as a way to encourage you to seek out and read the article, and think about the way we store, organize, and access the information that threatens to bury us, I'll quote my favorite passage: