Robert Darnton challenges “five myths about the information age” that, taken together, “constitute a font of proverbial nonwisdom.”
- “The book is dead.” Wrong: More books are produced in print each year than in the previous year.
- “We have entered the information age.”… [E]very age is an age of information, each in its own way and according to the media available at the time.
- “All information is now available online.” The absurdity of this claim is obvious to anyone who has ever done research in archives.
- “Libraries are obsolete.” Everywhere in the country librarians report that they have never had so many patrons.
- “The future is digital.” True enough, but misleading.
It used to be said that the difference between God and Robert Darnton was that God was everywhere, while Darnton was everywhere but Princeton. Now that he’s Harvard’s university librarian, I wonder if the joke has migrated and updated?