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DSU to host discussion on digitized libraries

April 17, 2018

“The transformation of book depositories into digital information platforms has come with great gains,” said Dr. Joseph Bottum, director of the Classics Institute at Dakota State University.

Those gains do have a cost, however, with some forms of access, and have “created the confusion of underdeveloped catalogue software, and allowed the possibility of new forms of censorship and surveillance,” he pointed out.

“These are worrisome topics, for all librarians and library users.”

To address these issues, the Classics Institute is hosting a discussion titled “The Illusion of Total Access: Libraries and Digitized Data” on Tuesday, April 24. The public is invited to attend the 4 p.m. event, held in Room 202 of the Karl Mundt Library on the DSU campus. The South Dakota Humanities Council is a co-sponsor.

Discussion will focus on the initial promise that digitizing information would democratize information, and address questions regarding the ability to control digitized information. Dr. Drew E. Griffin, senior librarian at the Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, Mass. will be the featured speaker.

“What makes Dr. Griffin particularly interesting on these topics is that, in addition to his library degree, he holds a doctorate in philosophy,” said Bottum. “This has trained him to think philosophically about the kind of questions he will take up for us at Dakota State.” The Classics Institute draws on the disciplines of philosophy, political science, law, economics, sociology and linguistics to study the relation of technology to the humanities.

Jan Brue Enright, director of DSU’s Karl Mundt Library will provide a response. “The additional comments of DSU's own talented librarian, Jan Enright, should make this an important and consequential discussion,” Bottum said.

For those unable to attend in person, the event will be available as a Classics Institute talk on the DSU YouTube channel after April 24.