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PCC Participants' Meeting Summary
ALA 2009 Annual Conference

Hotel Intercontinental, Renaissance Ball Room
Chicago, IL
July 12, 2009
4:00-5:30 p.m.

The signup sheets collected 60 names.

David Banush, Chair of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging greeted the PCC members and guests. Banush thanked Rebecca Mugridge, completing her years as Past Chair of the PCC, for her leadership. The PCC Chair-Elect, Magda El-Sherbini, attended the beginning of the meeting and departed early to attend an awards event where she received an ALCTS Presidential Citation for her leadership of the ALCTS Steering Committee for Implementation of the Non-English Language Task Force Recommendations.

The chair awarded certificates of appreciation to three PCC members:
Sherman Clarke (New York University)--for his contributions to the founding of the Art NACO and Art SACO Funnels and leadership as coordinator of both over many years

Becky Culbertson (University of California, San Diego) and George Prager (New York University Law Library)--In recognition of their contributions and leadership as co-chairs of the Provider-Neutral Record for E-monographs Task Group and in the development of PCC practices for qualifiers and authority records for online series

On behalf of the PCC, Banush also extended thanks to all PCC members who volunteer as members and chairs of Standing Committees and Task Groups, and as course trainers and mentors/reviewers.

Congratulations to all!

The featured speaker was:
R. David Lankes, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director Information Institute of Syracuse
School of Information Studies, Syracuse University
R. David Lankes (external link) Web site

Title: The Death of the Document

Presenter's Abstract: When a book becomes an ebook it loses more than simply its physical binding - it looses hard boundaries that separate the content of the book from its use. Online journals are not simply pictures of a traditional journal on a screen, but rather the foundations of intellectual communities. While today we hold on to terms such as book, journal, magazine and simply affix "e" to them, in truth, these terms of simply metaphors, an echo of an earlier analog reality. Online narratives, theses, and "how-to's" become living documents bound closer to a multitude of contexts that defy traditional notions of information organization, already strained to the breaking point of scale. What is needed is a new approach to organizing knowledge, one based on context that occurs in the space between artifacts.

A few comments from an observer:

Dr. Lankes gave a lively speech and slide presentation inviting his listeners not to be too disheartened about the title "The Death of the Document," saying that it's more like "The Mortal Injury of the Document." He reflected on the history and purposes behind the development of libraries reaching back to the Library at Alexandria.

Our speaker also pointed out other streams of data not necessarily identified with traditional library collections. Construction of a highway, for instance, generates legislative documents, engineering and environmental reports, traffic studies, contractual agreements, and data from temperature sensors to direct the application of salt to the new road in wintry conditions. Apply this concept to any form of construction or production, and try to imagine all the data that may never reach the shelves of a library.

Dr. Lankes gave illustrations of large numbers to stretch our thinking about the volume of data around us:

  • 1 gigabyte is about 20 meters of shelved books.
  • 1 terabyte is the contents of an academic research library.
  • 2 petabytes include the contents of all US academic research libraries.
  • 5 exabytes equals all the words ever spoken by humans.
  • Zettabyte and Yottabyte, the speaker said, are something that we can contemplate for the future.

Dr. Lankes suggested that we should stop thinking of libraries as repositories for "recorded knowledge," a phrase that he would like to retire. Our mission as librarians is not to buy, collect, catalog, and save data, but to further the cause of knowledge, in whatever format or environment.

Dr. Lankes' web page carries the screencast of his address to the PCC Participants' Meeting.

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