Slide 6 of 16

The concept of an information collection does not exist outside of librarianship. Collection development is a subtle activity and users of our libraries are probably not aware that any particular thought has gone into the relationships between seemingly unrelated works on our shelves. I'm sure that you've heard someone say that they don't see the difference between a library and a bookstore except that in one you pay and in one you don't. We know that there is a much greater difference.

To create a collection you have to take an active role in seeking out information to round out your collection. You try to have balanced coverage of topics and to include in your library those key works that fill in the information a reader will need in order to understand other works in your collection. No one has done collection development on the Internet and there are gaping holes in its knowledge base.

There's also the question of quality vs. quantity. We know that the Internet has a certain amount of quantity, but there is no differentiation between materials of different qualities. A Nobel prize winning research paper can be retrieved alongside a personal home page with pictures of the author's cats. There are a lot of out-of-date materials on the Internet - Web pages that were created years ago and then abandoned. No one is weeding the Internet.

I think of the library as having an organic view of information. A library is an expression of culture, not just a number of information units. It is the presentation of knowledge within a context. And it is a conscious collection and organization of that knowledge for the library's patrons and in support of their needs.