TeleRead’s founder, David Rothman, has an article on today’s front page of the Chronicle of Higher Education.  The article,  “It’s Time for a National Digital-Library System,” is familiar to most TeleRead visitors, describing his concept of a national digital library, as well as the support his idea has received from popular pundits:

(William F.) Buckley loved my proposal (“inspiring”) and came out in the 1990s with two syndicated columns backing the vision. As a harpsichord-playing Yalie famous for political and cultural conservatism and cherishing archaic words, Buckley was hardly a populist in most respects. But he fervently agreed with me that a national digital library should be universal and offer popular content—both books and multimedia. The library should serve not just the needs of academics, researchers, and lovers of high culture.

The article discusses a bit of the background and history of ebooks for public consumption, and promotes, “a new online ad hoc group that will seek to deal with these matters, especially whether the national digital library should be mainly for the intellectual elite or also serve the rest of society in many directly practical ways.”  It goes on to present criteria for the national digital library:

  • A wide variety of books and other items, including the literacy-building kind.
  • Accessibility, mixed with realism.
  • A democratic organizational model.
  • Interactivity and long-term trustworthiness.
  • Cost-justification.
  • Other business principles.
  • Flexibility, especially for the future.

Full text of the article, including details on the above bullet-points, are available on the Chronicle website.


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