On Libraries and Technology
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In the past, we had libraries. They could be impressive places (depending on the library manager and her budget). They would house all manor of books, audio, slides, video, and archive materials and collections. Generally, anyone could walk into any library and enjoy largely unrestricted access to any of the collection – for free. So long as they respected the house rules of seriousness, quietness and respect for the items, they were always welcome to browse the collection. Even university libraries would allow anyone to browse their collections too. Some universities would even extend that type of access to empty seats in their lecture. It was a social good – or a way of sustaining a level of society.
But then this thing called eLearning started to happen. eLearning spawned from the Internet about the same time as the dot com investment boom started to take hold. University managers found themsleves caught up in this money fever and the conferences they frequented start talking about ways to leverage this boom. Everywhere people started to think money could be made from information and content, and everywhere people started to invest in the developments of systems that would restrict access to portions of the Internet. The term Intellectual Property started to become popular in unversities! It was a dark time indeed.