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August 09, 2006


Richard, I think you are right to emphasise logistics. See my comments at


for example.

The long tail is interesting. A major lesson for libraries is that they have to remove transaction costs in the discovery to delivery process, which comes through what you say. I try to say something about this at:

What you are discussing is I think going to be a major challenge in coming years as libraries focus on where they create distinctive impact and recognise the opportunity cost of some of the more routine or repetitive (across institutions) stuff that they do.

Interesting thoughts, Richard. It reminds me of the blurring of on and off-campus students academic libraries are experiencing these days. Many local students now choose to take online courses for any number of reasons, and academic libraries have been forced to rethink their service models as a result. Delivery to the user, physically or virtually, has to be part of that rethunk service model.

Hi Richard,

I see the library's ability to deliver their product to the user in a wide variety of locations, formats and at whatever speed required as critical to the future of libraries. I am firmly in Lorcan Dempsey's camp when we states we need to complete the D2D chain: discover, locate, request, deliver. I recently blogged about it and some of us are currently debating the merits of charging for certain convenience-services (I think it is necessary). See http://www.galecia.com/weblog/mt/archives/000238.php

I'm also fascinated with Karen Calhoun's work The Changing Nature of the Library Catalog and its Integration with Other Discovery Tools and [again] Lorcan Dempsey's article "The Library Catalogue in the New Discovery Environment" in which they both suggest that the library (Dempsey) or catalog (Calhoun) could act as a hub or service layer between discovery and delivery. I think they (and you) are right on.

Lori Ayre

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