Ceremony and cybrary : Digital libraries and the dialectic of place and space

Kapitzke, Cushla (2001) Ceremony and cybrary : Digital libraries and the dialectic of place and space. Social Alternatives, 20(1), pp. 33-40.

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This article examines social, cultural and technological change in the systems and economies of educational information management. Since the Sumerians first collected, organized and supervised administrative and religious records some six millennia ago, libraries have been key physical depositories and cultural signifiers in the production and mediation of social capital and power through education. To date, the textual, archival and discursive practices perpetuating libraries have remained exempt from inquiry. My aim here is to remedy this hiatus by making the library itself the terrain and object of critical analysis and investigation. The paper argues that in the three dominant communications eras—namely, oral, print and digital cultures—society’s centres of knowledge and learning have resided in the ceremony, the library and the cybrary respectively. In a broad-brush historical grid, each of these key educational institutions—the ceremony in oral culture, the library in print culture and the cybrary in digital culture—are mapped against social, cultural and technological orders pertaining to their era. Following a description of these shifts in society’s collective cultural memory, the paper then examines the question of what the development of global information systems and economies mean for schools and libraries of today, and for teachers and learners as knowledge consumers and producers?

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ID Code: 43995
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Digital libraries, Information science, Library science, Print culture, Literacies, Technology and schooling, Information economy
ISSN: 0155-0306
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > OTHER EDUCATION (139900)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2001 Social Alternatives.
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Deposited On: 17 Aug 2011 23:09
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2011 08:37

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