Text topic: Digital Media Technologies
Text author: Жељко Вучковић и Гордана Стокић Симончић
This paper examines the causes and consequences of the phenomenon of information surplus in the world of digital media technologies, with particular emphasis on the functions of libraries in the selection and evaluation of information content. As Baudrillard showed, we lived in a world with more and more information and less and less sense. The excess of information undermines the very communication, and thus the essence of sociability. Obviously, information networks and digital technologies are fundamentally changing our habits and experience, producing a new culture and new institutional models and social paradigm. However, we must keep a measure of caution and healthy skepticism before we start believing that new technologies automatically solve the puzzle of human history. In the digital world, we must ask: Where is the knowledge we lost with information? Where is the wisdom we have lost with the knowledge? The authors remind us of the Jose Ortega y Gaset’s opening lecture at the Paris International Congress of Librarians and Bibliographers (1934) entitled Mission of the Librarian, and his statement that librarians have to leave the neutral position in the procurement, processing and organization of the records of human knowledge and take responsibility for producing and using knowledge. One could have rightly expected that the concept of redundant books and the necessity to control the flow of ideas and knowledge would trigger unanimous disapproval of expert circles. However, although Ortega’s speech sparked numerous debates and controversies, it has had a significant impact on defining the structure, function and mission of contemporary libraries and other information institutions. The fundamental issue in these controversies is: how to ensure a high quality selection of information and publications and, at the same time, avoid the dangers of censorship?