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Transforming Research Libraries for the Global Knowledge Society by Barbara Dewey

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3

Will universities still need libraries (or librarians) in 2020?

Graham Jefcoate

Introduction

Predicting library futures is as difficult as predicting the future of any kind of human institution or endeavour. The title of this chapter is clearly intended to recall books such as Andrei Almarik’s Will the Soviet Union survive until 1984?, published in English in 1970 (Almarik, 1970)1 (the USSR collapsed in 1991, making Almarik’s prediction pretty good), rather than Harrison E. Salisbury’s less cautious The Coming War between Russia and China, published in 1969 (Salisbury, 1969)2 (thank goodness, forty years later that war hasn’t happened yet). Caution is called for: prediction is not an exact science, even when based on well-founded assumptions ...

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