'Happiness is ... library automation': The rhetoric of early library automation and the future of discovery and academic libraries

Lisa Hinchliffe, Lauren Kosrow

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

During the second half of the twentieth century, the professional literature of academic librarianship imagined, speculated, and envisioned how impressive technological advancements might affect the future of academic libraries and the profession as a whole. Technology and automation, stalwarts of the Space Age, were portrayed as the panacea for librarians burdened with growing collections and overwhelming clerical processes. Many voices chimed in to predict how mechanization and automation would impact collections, communication, and information retrieval, as well as the role of academic libraries in the future. In this paper, we examine how library professionals predicted technology would influence the role of academic libraries in the past and in light of current conversations about collections, discovery, competition, and the future of academic libraries. By examining the rhetoric of past conversations through the lens of present dialogs, we hope to bring a new perspective, informed by the past, to the professional discourse as ideas regarding collections, discovery, and the future of academic libraries continue to be discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2014

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happiness
automation
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librarianship
information retrieval
librarian
twentieth century
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discourse
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Cite this

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