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On the internet 1980 is pre-history

It often seems that history began some time in the early 1990s. While the internet has given us unprecedented free access to information, it is not good for the facts and opinion that give us the longer perspective.

From the desktop, the 1980s seems like the dark ages. So it is disturbing that libraries are under threat from cost-cutting. The Guardian reports today that the British Library, the greatest of the British deposit libraries, is threatened by government imposed cuts which could lead to charges.

The county and city libraries have long suffered from financial cuts and the need to make themselves “popular” as well as a lack of investment in storage. The result is that they throw out old books.

This is akin to bulldozing castles and ancient houses: it diminishes our ability to understand the past and how it affects the present.

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  1. tino says

    I absolutely agree: I have used the library’s excellent, and excellently managed, resources time and again to do my work for both writing papers and studying and I couldn’t manage without it. Requiring people to pay would discourage many from discovering like I did just how excellent a resource it is.