Friday, November 7 • 11:30am - 12:15pm
“Happiness is…Library Automation:” The Rhetoric of Early Library Automation and the Future of Discovery and Academic Libraries

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During the second half of the twentieth century, the professional literature of academic librarianship imagined, speculated, and envisioned how impressive technological advancements might affect the future of academic libraries and the profession as a whole. Technology and automation, stalwarts of the Space Age, were portrayed as the panacea for librarians burdened with growing collections and overwhelming clerical processes. Many voices chimed in to predict how mechanization and automation would impact collections, communication, and information retrieval, as well as the role of academic libraries in the future. In this presentation, we will examine how library professionals predicted technology would influence the role of academic libraries in the past and compare these discussions with current conversations about collections, discovery, competition, and the future of academic libraries. This presentation will draw on an analysis of the rhetoric in the professional literature amidst technological advancements, specifically during the automation of the late 1960s to 1970s as libraries transition from the card catalog to the online catalog. By examining the rhetoric of past conversations through the lens of present dialogs, we hope to bring a new perspective, informed by the past, to the professional discourse as ideas regarding collections, discovery, and the future of academic libraries continue to be discussed.

avatar for Lisa Hinchliffe

Lisa Hinchliffe

Professor/Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Information Literacy, Library Assessment, Value of Academic Libraries, Inclusion, Mentoring
avatar for Lauren Kosrow

Lauren Kosrow

Graduate Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Friday November 7, 2014 11:30am - 12:15pm
Cooper Room, Courtyard Marriott 125 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401