Author: Frederick J. Stielow
Paperback: ISBN:978-0-8389-1208-9, $75
Imprint: Chicago: ALA Editions 2013
“Have changes such as cloud computing, search engines, the Semantic Web, and mobile applications rendered such long-standing academic library services and functions as special collections, interlibrary loans, physical processing, and even library buildings unnecessary? Can the academic library effectively reconceive itself as a virtual institution? Stielow, who led the library program of the online university American Public University System, argues most emphatically that it can. His comprehensive look at web-based academic libraries synthesizes the changes wrought by the Web revolution into a visionary new model, grounded in history as well as personal experience. He demonstrates how existing functions like cataloging, circulation, collection development, reference, and serials management can be transformed by entrepreneurship, human face/electronic communicator relations, web apps, and other innovations. Online education can ensure that libraries remain strong information and knowledge hubs, and his timely book…”
Stielow contemplates the existential nature of academic libraries in this work. He believes the salvation of university libraries will be through “a reluctant transit from paper to ‘blended’ electronic operations,” and he investigates the question: Can the academic library move beyond its physical existence (buildings; interlibrary loans; special collections; processing) to a purely virtual existence? Nine chapters discuss how to prepare for the coming revolution and how to rewire librarians. Embedded librarians, online publishing, virtual campuses, and economics are all touched on, and the book ends with a colophon that introduces the fully online, for-profit American Public University System (Stielow is head of APUS’ Classroom/Research Information Services Department). This book will provoke thinking outside the box and is recommended for academic librarians interested in the topic.