Monday, 18 October 2010
The commercialization of academic libraries
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a special Chronicle Review issue this week that looks at "The Making of the Corporate University" with articles on how various aspects of academia have been commercialized. One of the articles is titled "Library Inc." and it argues that academic libraries are the most commercialized academic area within universities, with troubling implications for the future of higher education. Written by an academic librarian from UC Davis, the article describes how information technologies have erased the division that used to exist between the commercial process of acquiring materials and the academic objective of using those materials. Because many materials now are owned by publishers or vendors, libraries pay for access rather than ownership and the commercial interests of the publishers and vendors have unfortunately become entwined as part of the academic library's interests and values. This is a must-read article for any academic librarians, both technical services and public services.