Extravagant Joy: Digital Libraries, the Illusion of Abundance and the Fragmentation of Learning

By Mark Woodhouse.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Google’s dream of digitizing all of the world’s books, the vast numbers of resources already available in digital form and the ever increasing portability and connectivity of devices for accessing data creates the illusion that we are further along in the quest for universal access to information than, in fact, we are. Along with this has arisen the notion that the physical library is becoming rapidly obsolete. Data on the emerging habits of researchers and the superficial engagement that is developing in our relationship with information suggests a lack of focus that militates against learning. The library - both as a physical place and as a virtual presence - has the opportunity and the responsibility to provide order, direction and instruction to recreate itself as a progressive institution of learning.

Keywords: Digital Libraries, Physical Libraries, Research Methods

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp.657-666. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.225MB).

Mark Woodhouse

Head of Technical Services, Mark Twain Archivist, College Archivist, Gannett-Tripp Library, Elmira College, Elmira, NY, USA

Mark Woodhouse is the Head of Technical Services, College Archivist and Mark Twain Archivist at Elmira College in Elmira N.Y. where he has served since 1987. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the Catholic University of America and, in addition to a Master’s Degree in Library Science from The State University of New York at Buffalo, holds a Master’s Degree in Printing Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology. His essay on Libraries appeared in American History Through Literature 1870-1920 published by Charles Scribner’s Sons/Thomsom Gale in 2006 and he is a regular contributor to Library Journal. His poetry has appeared in The Gettysburg Review as well as in other literary magazines.


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