Rethinking Libraries for a Digital Future

Highlights from the digital collections of the Harvard libraries, and video humor

<a href="http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/reading/">View the exhibit</a>: The Harvard University Library Open Collections Program offers this multifaceted online exploration of the history of reading as reflected in holdings from the University’s libraries.

Harvard is rethinking libraries, librarians, and collection priorities, as described in this magazine’s May-June feature article Gutenberg 2.0. And it is actively digitizing its holdings to make them available to audiences within and beyond the Harvard campus.

Changes are being driven in part by the new ways in which people interact with information. The most fundamental of those interactions is examined in a curated, online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading, as reflected in multiple holdings from the Harvard libraries (see above).  University Library director Robert Darnton says that reading "has become one of the hottest subjects in the humanities, perhaps because it seems especially intriguing now that so much of it has shifted from the printed page to the computer screen."

 

Within the Harvard library collections available for viewing online, visitors will find musical scores, works of poetry, daguerreotypes, photographs, maps, pamphlets, and illuminated manuscripts. For access, browse the Harvard College Library's digital collections or visit a web-accessible selection of digital material from across the University Library system.

 

 

 

For a humorous take on a previous transition—the shift from scrolls to books—watch this clip from Norwegian television NRK (with English subtitles):

 

 

You might also like

Steven Pinker on Apple’s Vision Pro

Professor of psychology on the science and history behind the Vision Pro.

The State of Black America

Harvard African American scholars take stock of a difficult moment. 

Threats Foreign and Domestic

Joseph Nye discusses geopolitics and Harvard’s challenges.

Most popular

Murphy Time

Harvard’s greatest football coach—and one of the best anywhere

Harvard Files Amicus Brief in Graduate Student Unionization Case

The University argues that the relationship between graduate students and universities should remain academic, not managerial, and student labor unions would “damage private sector graduate education.”

Labor Litigator

Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan takes on the app economy.

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults