存档2020年6月11日

Transcript of the webinar speech on May 13, 2020

Recorded video can be found at: https://v.qq.com/x/page/a0966dw612b.html and https://vimeopro.com/ebsco1/supporting-your-institutions-as-they-move-online/video/418175693

Hello everyone!

Thank you Meghan and Ethen for having us to the Webinar. 

Let me begin with wishing you all safety and health during this COVID-19 Pandemic Period. Our library has not been back to normal from the end of February. Now we are only open for half a day everyday.

Today we are very happy to share with you our thoughts and plan for implementation FOLIO in Shanghai Library, as well as to promote FOLIO application and awareness in China.

I am Keven Liu, the deputy director of Shanghai library. Today with me will be two of my colleagues, Zhou Gang and Chen Xiaoyang, 

I am going to give you an overview on the consideration of FOLIO implementation in Shanghai Library, and why we are going to promote the FOLIO application in China. Mr. Zhou Gang will be on the Program of our developing and migration plan in more detail. And Chen Xiaoyang will talk about the FOLIO community activities we have done in the past and will be doing in the near future in China.

At first, I would like to give you a little bit about the background of my library and my city.

As you may know, Shanghai is one of the biggest city in China. And Shanghai Library is the biggest public library in China. The population of Shanghai is 23 million. About a quarter of them (that is about 5.1 million) had a reader’s card issued from the Shanghai library system. 

Generally Shanghai Library has three faces to the public: a stand-alone public and research library, a central library for the Shanghai library consortia which is consists of 256 member and branch libraries, and a professional research institute, which has a name of Institute of Scientific and Technological Information of Shanghai (ISTIS).

The main building of Shanghai library has 83 thousand square meters (that is about 900,000 square feet). The total collection has 55 million items, including a huge collection of special materials such as ancient books, old newspapers and magazines, genealogy, rubbings, maps, diaries and letters of celebrities and so on so forth. We have more than 800 librarians and staffs working in the library everyday.

The circulation transaction number is 66 million a year. There are more than 3 million people visited my library every year. There are about 800 thousand readers checked out more than 30 million books each year from the whole city library system. 

The present Shanghai Library building opened to the public in 1996. With the economic development, the budget of Shanghai Library has been from around 30 million USD in 1996 to around 70 million USD last year.

We are now having a new building under construction, located in the new city center of Pudong area, where it is always pretend to be the center of the universe in Hollywood movies. The overall design is from SHL, a company from Denmark. The new building has 115 thousand square meters of floor space (that is about 1.2 million square feet). It will open to public on Dec. 2021 (the end of next year).

As I just mentioned, Shanghai Library has a second face as the central library of the whole city library consortia, which contains 256 libraries in three tiers by now, and will be expand to around two thousand libraries in four tiers in the next few years. We are now using only one integrated library system for the whole consortia, that is the Horizon System from SirsiDynix. 

We have been running it from 1996.

I am sure some of you are familiar with the interfaces. It’s a magnificent powerful Integrated Library System once upon the time. In the recently issued Library System Report by Marshall Breeding, there are still hundreds of libraries using Horizon for nowadays. 

After running it for more than two decades, as you can see obviously, the system can no longer meet our needs. we are facing with a giant leap and mega-migration for Shanghai Library and the whole Shanghai Library Consortia.

Our requirements are very clear.

We need a service platform not only for Shanghai Library, but for tens of branch libraries, which have their own library branches, in total maybe thousands of them as an integrated consortia.

We should support up to 100 million circulation transaction a year.

We should look after all kinds of activities by up to 15 million registered users in the next few years.

It should provide SaaS ecology with diversified multiple extension modules by all kinds of local vendors, to provide smart library services, reserving services, reading list services, activity management services, 24-hour services, data analytics services, etc.

It should help member and branch libraries to transform and redefine themselves to a more digital world, and re-engineering their workflow to meet new and unknown requirements in the future.

After  keeping track of the library system market for quite a few years, we found nothing can fulfill such requirements above, till we learn the existence of FOLIO. 

We valued the open and sharing spirit of FOLIO, it is perfectly matching the ideas of the Public Libraries.

I agree with the idea that the future of library platform should be open sourced and act as an operation system for libraries.  As a platform it should have an open market for all kinds of stakeholders. And then libraries can choose applications what ever they want to run. 

We libraries should play a key role in the self-serviced environment, which has a spirit can be stated as: “by the community, with the community and for the community”.  

We think it is a breakthrough in the library history which is like no other. And we are very happy to see the most part of FOLIO has been realized in recent years. It has been successfully implemented in Chalmers University in Sweden last September, and will go live in several university libraries this year. 

FOLIO is a future platform with a lot of potentials and promises. FOLIO community has been doing a fantastic job to make the dream come true. 

There is no such a platform better than FOLIO by now, has the capacity to accomplish the countless and agnostic requirements for libraries to go into the future.

But the future of libraries is a moving target. We don’t have a crystal ball that allows us to see the future clearly. The only thing we know is that there will be no future if we just sit there and do nothing instead of actively addressing the disruptive digital challenges.

So we need the new service platform to be flexible enough to adapt all kinds of new technologies and meet all possible requirements. Here has some concerns from Shanghai library. It can also be seen as the critical difficulties to implement FOLIO in Shanghai Library.

•In a library as large and complex as the Shanghai Library, FOLIO is relatively less mature and less sophisticated. We need to do some strengthening and localization.

•Extensive modules are immediate required to meet local needs.

•Multi-tenant has higher priority to support large consortia.

•Market place has higher priority to accommodate diversified requirements and support new business model innovation.

•Robustness, performance and scalability issues need to be fully considered.

We believe that, if FOLIO can be successfully applied in Shanghai library, FOLIO will be decisively invincible and has a very bright future in the library system market around the world. But we need a lot of helps first from the whole FOLIO community, to address such key difficulties above. 

Our goals are also very clear:

•To provide a breakthrough LSP to integrate and upgrade our service capacity for Shanghai Central Library Consortia.

•To curate a lightweight version of open sourced LSP for all kinds of libraries in China.

•To maintain an active community consists of libraries and venders in China.

•To foster an ecosystem by establish an open market and encourage open innovation.

•To explore and incubate new business model for library and information service industry in China. 

As Shanghai Library has a research group under the name of Digital Culture Research Base by the China Ministry of Culture and Tourism. We are regularly present research reports for their reference. So we are not doing things just for Shanghai Library itself, but for the whole library industry in China, especially in the information technology implementation aspect.

That’s why we are willing to curate a FOLIO Chinese version, and to contribute on maintaining an active FOLIO community consists of libraries and venders in China. 

I’m very happy to announce that, with the great help from EBSCO and Jiatu Company, we are now having Mrs. Lucy Liu to join us as a PO (Product Owner) for FOLIO local development and implementation. 

The library market in China consists mainly of public libraries and university libraries. Of course there are many school libraries and other kinds, but I have no statistics of them. So I just take the main two to give you a rough picture.

•The total annual budget of public libraries is around 13 billion RMB in 2015 (ie. about 2 billion USD). 

•The annual budget excluding staff costs for university libraries is about 6.5 billion RMB (about 1 billion USD).

•The collection development costs around 10 billion RMB (public lib has 45%, university lib 55%), of which less than half is for digital resources.

•IT funding is difficult to keep track, usually for hardware, software and services together in total, is around 1.5 billion RMB. Rough estimate of software system is about 400-500 million RMB a year.

As for Library System Market in China, 

•We are now having less than 10 local active venders in total.

•Most of them show great interest in FOLIO and very possible to join the FOLIO alliance, some of them are already the member of CALIS Alliance or Shanghai Alliance.

•But some of them will still develop and maintain their own products. The real competition will be among 3-4 competitors.

•So it’s very important for FOLIO to have a competitive market strategy.

•FOLIO is based on the library community. That’s why the interest from libraries are most important. A lot of libraries are currently very eager to learn about the new LSP.

•If full fledged, FOLIO will be able to capture a large portion of the Chinese market share we believe.

To summarize, we like to provide a very brief SWOT analysis for the  FOLIO application in China, as follows


the Strengths are:

•It is an Open Source Software

•It developed with Micro-services architecture, but there is already a product from another company in the Chinese market that uses spring cloud microservices solution.

•It is community-based self-serviced and vender independent 

•It consists of plug-n-play Web apps

•It provide format agnostic feature and support multiple Knowledge bases.

the Weaknesses are:

•Risk of development delays which is always going to happen in Open Source software development.

•Weak on service support as OSS

•Need powerful community stewardship and governance

•Relatively long learning curve to handle for some libraries

the Opportunities are

•Libraries are Longing for adopt next generation technologies

•Applications can be embedded in users’ mobile and smart environment

•It can facilitate open innovation for venders and libraries

the Threats are

•New Business Model has not emerged and should be mixed with resources, software and maintenance support services.

•Fierce market competition still exists.

•Open Source Software has sustainable issue.

•The risk of unfulfilled expectations brings poor word-of-mouth credibility 

I would like to propose a strategic plan for promoting FOLIO applications in China. 

We at Shanghai Library are committed to support the domestic FOLIO alliance and strive to play a key role in it.

•We should keep schedule and speed up the localization modules development for Shanghai Library, as the first successful implementation example.

•We should Increase satisfaction of early adopters and pay attention to word-of-mouth marketing.

•We should help to strengthen the governance and stewardship of the OLF and local community.

•We should release service specifications and best practices when necessary to keep awareness.

•We should implement library-centric and service-oriented modules development. 

•We should recruit library and developer alliances to build a sustainable ecology.

•We should encourage to develop more Web Apps that are compatible and interoperable with the FOLIO architecture, to form a comprehensive application environment as soon as possible.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to those who give us a lot of help on the FOLIO development for Shanghai Library. They are CALIS, 嘉图Jiatu, ILAS, 凯勤Kelkin, 仰格Younger, 上海阿法迪Shanghai RFID, 睿计Ruiji, 蔚运Wewin, 杭州麦达Hangzhou MetaData, 以及图创软件and TCSoft,

Especially many thanks to EBSCO, a lot of friends from EBSCO lead us to the right and bright path into the future.

That’s the end of my talk.

The next speaker will be my colleague, Mr. Zhou Gang, on the FOLIO modules and migration plans by our Shanghai Library FOLIO team.

阅读的未来

能不能告诉我,你最近一次去图书馆是在什么时候?

中学?大学?某次路过?

没关系,不用为没去过图书馆而感到内疚,你可能根本就找不到它。目前在中国每 47 万个人才有一个公共图书馆。如果你碰巧还有一张「读者证」的话,那么真的要恭喜你了,你属于「百里挑一」:每 130 个人当中才有一个。

全民阅读调查统计显示,我国每个识字公民年购书经费约在 30-40 元,除去教科书教辅书,其中真正购买「图书」的花费不足 10 元;被调查者自述年阅读图书一般在 4-5 本。从图书馆方面来统计,全国公共图书馆人均年购书经费 0.5 元;全国 2762 个县级以上公共图书馆收藏了 4.8 亿册图书,人均 0.39 册;服务了总人口的 0.8%,即 1062 万持卡读者;年借阅图书 2.03 亿册次(2005 年),平均每个读者每年看书 19.11 本。

而美国,每三个公民就有两个是图书馆的持卡读者,平均每人每年去图书馆7次(年接待人数 22 亿),图书流通率相当于美国人口的近五倍(14 亿册件)。在英国,每一万人就有一所图书馆。

这些数字说明,我国远远算不上一个图书馆大国或者读书大国,但图书馆的读者却都是读书狂人。公共图书馆成了极少一部分自己买不起书,却酷爱读书的公民的乐园,它用了极少的社会投入,获得了极大的社会效益。

与此同时,我们所处的时代又是一个信息泛滥的时代,人们每天一睁眼,就被「信息污染」包围,始终处于「被阅读」、「被轰炸」的状态。书店里坐卧横斜人满为患,地铁里嘻哈一族捧着 PSP、手机看小说,「起点中文网」的崛起标志着网络阅读财源滚滚,出版界为 Kindle、电纸书而疯狂,手机报正在兴起,3G 厂商也已推出多媒体阅读概念……,未被「娱乐至死」的电视媒体所终结的印刷王朝,几乎已经无法在数码网络时代继续苟延残喘。

这一切说明人们并非不喜欢阅读,社会也并非不需要阅读,而是阅读正在转型,阅读也需要重新定义。

在这个过程中,传统的图书馆正在 OUT。

数字图书馆正在兴起。

数字图书馆:不再有「书」的图书馆

前国家领导人李岚清在 1998 年 10 月 2 日视察国家图书馆时指出:「数字图书馆是图书馆的未来」。这当然不是他本人的研究成果,而是自上世纪九十年代开始,随着美国国家科学基金会(NSF)、国防部高级研究署(DARPA)和美国航空航天局(NASA)巨额资助数字图书馆研发之后,国内连续数年不断学习、消化、试验、讨论,形成的一定程度上的共识。

然而,对于什么是数字图书馆,可以说至今还没有给出能够得到大家公认的定义,或许我们只能让「数字图书馆」的未来发展自己来定义。

什么不是数字图书馆,倒是得到了一定程度的公认,这种公认与人们的常识有一定距离:通常认为的「数字图书馆」,一般是指印刷的图书经过扫描数字化、变成「电子书」之后,在网上提供在线阅览或下载服务的网站。这恰恰不是「数字图书馆」的主流,至少不是数字图书馆的理想形式,最多只是一种形式而已。电脑科学家甚至认为「数字图书馆」与现在的图书馆没有多少关系,它只是因特网上海量信息的一种结构化存在形式。

不过目前这种「山寨」数字图书馆概念充斥了主流媒体,从而在人们的大脑中形成了认知惯性。这应该都是「图书」这个名称惹的祸。2006 年美国 OCLC 的调查表明,社会大众对于「图书馆」的认知,是与「图书」这种形式紧紧捆绑的,这种捆绑有利有弊,「利」在于赋予了图书馆一种实在、永恒的特性,一想到图书馆,总是巍峨的大厦,无尽的书架和人类所有的知识;「弊」也显而易见,随着传统「图书」的消亡,图书馆也将无可避免地走入历史。数字时代,一切皆有可能。

其实图书馆只是通过「图书」,最终与「知识」达成捆绑。「图书」(包括期刊、报纸等传统纸媒读物)这种载体形态及其所造成的阅读习惯是印刷时代的产物,知识一旦数字化之后,内容与载体就彻底分离,编码与形式得以彼此独立,任何内容、任何媒体,还原为电脑可处理的 0 和 1,一下子就「人人平等」。对于图书馆来说,只是知识的载体形态发生了变化,知识的内容并无发生改变,图书馆收藏、保存、传播知识的职能并未发生变化。

因此,从上世纪九十年代以来,图书馆开始收藏光盘,后来是越来越多的文摘索引数据库和全文数据库,数字媒体在图书馆的采购比例越来越高。目前,国内外一些研究型图书馆采购数字资源的比重最高可达订购经费的 80%。由于检索、传递和使用的方便性,数字资源的利用率更是远远超过传统资源。

资源的数字化对图书馆的业务流程和服务方式造成了重大影响,对图书馆员的素质要求和工作内容也产生了巨大变化。一个直接的影响就是,图书馆员必须自己首先具有相当的电脑技能,克服「信息鸿沟」,才能帮助读者,提供必需的服务。目前我们正处于由传统图书馆向数字图书馆过渡的时期,「复合型图书馆」就是为在这个特定时期、传统资源与数字资源混合的业务和管理模式提出的一个新的概念。

「图书」等传统载体形态,随着出版行业的彻底的「数字化」,成为数字化信息内容的一种输出形式。因为将来的绝大多数信息都是「Born Digital」的,先有数字形式,再有物质形态,而不是相反的先有传统出版,再进行数字化。而且由于传统图书的材料消耗和工艺流程所造成的高额成本(相对于数字拷贝而言),「印刷」将成为一种「贵族」消费。现在的图书必然是将来的「古籍」和艺术品,按需打印的图书也会进入奢侈品的行列。

数字图书馆就像一台大熔炉,所有的数字信息都可以在其中煅烧、冶炼,然后水银泻地一般,通过覆盖世界各个角落的互联网传播开去。大众阅读将彻底碎片化、多媒体化、动态化,任何手持设备都能够显示内容,电脑可以在任何时间、地点、瞬间将任何内容,在全球范围内,以任何载体、形态、格式和体验传输给任何需要它的「读者」。

这就是未来的数字图书馆。

数字图书馆:时势造英雄

与「图书」捆绑的图书馆最终将会为图书陪葬,与「知识」捆绑的图书馆,才能独立于知识形态和载体的变化,不论信息技术风云变幻,继续实践图书馆「收集保存、有序组织、知识交流、休闲娱乐」的社会职能。图书馆的社会职能可能会随着社会分工变化和替代行业的出现而发生重点的转移,但是无论如何,作为一种保障民众获取知识与信息的公平权利、消除知识鸿沟和信息鸿沟的公益性社会机构,无论是实体的还是虚拟的,纸张的还是数字的,其职能是永恒的。

如果我们把「无纸社会」作为传统媒体向数字媒体过渡的一种象征的话,真正的「无纸社会」只是一个无限逼近的目标。历史上媒体的变迁很少有直接替代的情况发生,更多的是由于功能被新的媒体所替代而造成使用方式和习惯的迁移,老的媒体通常能发掘出新的用途,或者以前的次要功能发展成主要功能。

美国伊利诺伊州大学厄本那—香槟分校的兰开斯特教授分别在 1978 年和 1982 年写过两本关于未来图书馆和图书馆员的书,预言无纸化社会将在上世纪末到来。1999 年他老人家对他的预言进行了反省,提醒人们技术的发展会带来对人的忽视。其实技术的发展总有个过程,电脑科学和网络技术一直在向更加人性化的方向发展,可视化、虚拟现实、穿戴电脑等都是近年来最前沿的技术,上世纪七十年代兴起的人工智能研究虽然是失败了,但记载了科学家的努力,Web2.0、语义万维网更是技术以人为本的证明。技术到底还是为人服务的。人的贪婪总是会对技术提出越来越高的要求,归咎于技术,只能是人的无能和无知,也是把技术异化了的表征。有人根据兰老的反省仿佛见证了兰老的愚蠢,认为他的预言的破产就是信息技术的破产,并举例说「无纸社会」实际上用纸更多了。

真是这样吗?预言家们只不过性急了一点,无纸社会尚未到来,但纸张作为一种印刷媒介和信息载体,已经不再具有主流媒体和知识传播的作用,不再具有大众媒体的地位,而逐渐退出历史舞台;取而代之的,数字媒体、网络传播将成为主导方式。

印刷取代手抄,报纸取代公文,电视取代广播,电话取代电报,电邮取代信件……历史上这样的故事发生过多次,但是当前的数字化浪潮恐怕只有印刷术能够相比。我们正在经历一场由信息技术革命带来的人类社会的整体变革。能源、生物、材料和信息四大决定人类未来的发动机中,到目前为止,还只有信息革命率先取得了突破。

目前全球的网民已超过 16 亿,我国约占五分之一,更有手机上网用户1.55 亿。这个媒体迁移过程,随着我们一两代人的更替,可以自然完成。现在的网络一代,眼不离屏幕,手不离键盘,一天可以泡网十几个小时,出门也不忘带着上网手机。网络就是他们的江湖。对他们而言,任何东西,只要网上没有,就不存在。书本基本上是个负担:书包是每天的负担,买书有金钱的负担,读书更是扼杀青春的负担。偶尔街头买一张小报,或时尚杂志,一般是为了心理需要,或者可以当个坐垫。

如果我们把人类历史的坐标尺度放大,自上世纪下半叶开始的信息技术革命已经是快如闪电了。我们生活在一个一切都按照指数级发展的时代,现代人一年中所获得的信息量,是 19 世纪一个英国普通人一生所获信息量的总和,而目前每年新增的信息量,又是过去 5000 年人类信息的总和。历史上还没有哪次新技术革命,能够给人的生活,在一个人有限的一生中带来如此剧烈的变化。

工业文明的印刷技术带来了图书馆的第一次复兴,数字时代必将带来下一次复兴。人类探索世界、追求理性的天性赋予图书馆以基本精神,这些精神随着知识的丰富和理性的进化而不断发展,即存在于图书馆收藏和整理的知识中,也浓缩和积淀于图书馆的精神和理念中,归纳起来,图书馆的基本精神就是知识自由的精神,图书馆的服务理念就是平等无差别和免费服务。现代图书馆的贫民化和开放运动、美国钢铁大王卡内基对公共图书馆的塑造、当前学术领域的开放存取运动等等,这些东西不会随着技术的进步、服务手段的提高以及图书馆形态的变化而变化的。这些理念和精神是永恒的。

这就是现在图书馆行业面临的信息环境,也是数字图书馆应运而生的土壤。图书馆的理念、价值和运作模式独立于它的形态和内容,就像印度图书馆学家阮冈那赞所说的,图书馆是一个不断发展的有机体。其最大特点就是适应性,在任何环境下,都能够调整自己,复制自己,发展自己。

数字图书馆:存取人类所有知识

1849 年,英国考古学家莱尔德发掘了迄今确知的最早的图书馆——亚述巴尼拔图书馆,发掘出近三万块泥版文书。这座公元前六世纪的图书馆却不是最有名的,只是由于泥版文书的特殊性,使其免于战火,保存至今。而大大有名的,只限于文献记载的、比它晚 400 年的古埃及亚历山大图书馆,却成了一个永恒的传奇。

以羊皮书和纸莎卷为主要收藏的亚历山大图书馆命多劫难,两次毁于战火,以至于其宏富的收藏和辉煌的历史只能散见于文献,据说其最多时收藏有 50 万卷各类手稿,是由数百位「誊写员」(当时的图书馆员)日夜不停地抄写得来的。最使这座图书馆文明的是它的收藏理念:穷尽人类的所有知识。

从这一点来讲,谷歌就是现代的亚历山大图书馆。谷歌昭告天下的使命是:「整合全球范围的信息,使人人皆可访问并从中受益」(To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful),这与 2001 年 2 月美国信息技术咨询委员会(PITAC)向布什总统提出的报告《数字图书馆:实现对人类知识的普遍访问》(Digital Libraries: Universal Access to Human Knowledge)如出一辙,甚至可以认为,谷歌就是在干未来图书馆的活。

谷歌与图书馆和出版商合作的谷歌 图书搜索计划目前已提供 700 万种数字化图书的在线服务,很快会达到 1000 万种。这批图书最早来源于五家图书馆:密西根、斯坦福、哈佛、牛津 Bodleian 四个大学图书馆和纽约公共图书馆,仅这五家图书馆的藏书就高达 1500 万种。谷歌打算投资两亿美元,在 2014 年前完成这个数字化项目,据估计最后可能远远不止。据说人类目前保存的图书总数一共也就一亿种左右,对于谷歌来说,把它们全部储存起来似乎不是什么遥不可及的事情。

随着 2008 年 10 月谷歌就其扫描的绝版书与美国出版商协会和美国作家协会达成赔偿 1.25 亿美元的和解协议,谷歌几乎就是拿到了合法的扫描人类所有图书的执照。即便该和解协议覆盖范围极其有限,这个模式也为将来处理同类纠纷提供了参考。当然没有多少人能够出得起谷歌开出的价码。谷歌建立了一个无比巨大的图书分销零售平台,凭借其所向披靡的搜索引擎和其它技术优势,将内容重新标注、索引、组合,并扩展到期刊、报告、会议录等传统学术出版产业中,甚至可以进一步与新闻、多媒体行业进行整合,而在整个内容产业中攻城略地,依靠其平台和商务模式,左右整个内容产业链。

现在谷歌的战略布局虽然初现端倪,已经很难有实质性抵抗了。由Internet  Archive、微软、雅虎等组成的开放内容联盟曾经也想在这个领域分一杯羹,但在扫描了 75 万册图书之后,微软还是放弃了该计划。当初微软的决策似乎是出于与谷歌竞争的冲动,与 Internet Archive 的合作也使其变成纯粹烧钱商务模式。其它类似的数字化项目还有中美百万册图书计划、古登堡数字图书馆计划和美利坚记忆数字图书馆项目等,从规模上和技术上不能跟谷歌图书搜索计划相比,只能算是实验性或示范性项目。

当然一家通吃的局面是很难出现的,亚马逊公司凭借其 Kindle 阅读器一鸣惊人,通过终端的标准化,打通整个产业链,打造出一个电子书零售市场,其商务模式有模仿苹果公司 iTunes / iPod 之嫌,但依然取得了巨大的成功。该领域还有索尼等公司加入战团,实力不可小觑。

与「数字内容」的生产、组织、发布、服务相关的公司还有一类,就是像「盛大文学网」这种原生数字内容平台公司,他们与传统出版行业的竞争看起来是最激烈的,互相渗透,抢夺地盘,但是这个战场最多只是局域性的,而且其商务模式目光短浅,很难打造起真正的行业平台。真正具有战略意义的,能够左右整个数字内容产业的应该是谷歌、亚马逊这类野心和实力并举、掌握了各类数字内容分销平台和渠道的公司。

图书馆在这场大战中尽可以采取坐山观虎斗的策略,谁赢谁输都没有坏处,行业整合了、科技进步了,图书馆可以更好地实现其固有的职能。要知道任何企业都是有其生命周期的,据说目前存世的最长寿的企业,是传了 40 代,已有 1400 多年历史的日本大阪寺庙建筑企业金刚组,西方最古老的企业为法国葡萄酒世家 Château de Goulaine,已超过千岁了。然而正如前文所述,图书馆至少已有 2600 多年的历史,再强大的企业,存续再久的企业,也无法跟一项公益性的事业相比,尽管可能干了与图书馆相同的工作。

图书馆作为知识中介的功能,可能会被商业化的服务逐步取代,然而图书馆作为保障知识自由和平等获取的机构,其真正覆盖的应该是无法获得商业化服务的人群,任何时代都有这样的人群,以逐利为目的的企业总有服务的盲区。另外,图书馆尚有「保存、组织、交流、娱乐」四大职能,是任何私有企业无法完全覆盖的。

数字图书馆的前景风光无限。

未来的图书馆:随需而变,无所不在

图书馆事业的不可取代性,并不是图书馆可以不思进取的理由。行业的兴衰成败,背后可能的原因比企业的开停并转要复杂很多,但并不是没有前车之鉴。图书馆不管有多少职能,只要不能继续吸引读者,它的前景就堪忧。因此图书馆面临的挑战还是十分巨大的。

建设数字图书馆并非不要场地,不要空间。自古以来,图书馆都是人们交际聚会的场所,近年来更有「城市的起居室」、「市民的书房」等称谓。数字图书馆只是指它的资源是数字化的,设施是围绕数字化资源所配备的,从功能上说,它依旧是城市或社区的信息中心。

图书馆发展「信息共享空间」和「学习共享空间」,甚至「Idea Shop」,正在成为公共图书馆和高校图书馆的潮流。你如果去一个社区图书馆,可能看不到成排的书架、报栏,倒是有不少沙发、茶几,以及零星的电脑和散落各处。这种「共享空间」的理念就是,综合图书馆的各种资源、设施和能力,以人为本,向读者提供所有可能的服务。每一个「共享空间」可能都是个性化的,就像每一所星巴克的布局都不一样,但他们提供的服务和体验是一样的。

将来你可能会见到环境优雅,音乐幽幽,提供咖啡茶点,可以免费上网的社区图书馆;或者接受专题资料预约,提供投影等会议设施,到处都能无线上网的图书馆阅览室供您在需要的时段使用;如果需要专业的参考馆员陪伴协助,也可以预约。

当前制约图书馆提供数字资源服务的还有一个重要障碍,就是版权。传统图书馆提供纸本图书、期刊和其它馆藏资源的借阅、复印,有行业规范(例如每次复印不超过一本书的三分之一之类),属于「合理使用」范围。但数字资源由于拷贝和传播的便利性,一下子就无法「合理使用」了,许多限制不能充分发挥数字资源的优势,使得许多公共图书馆在数字资源的服务和提供方面十分被动,利用率很低。

图书馆的存在本来就是对于版权制度的一种调节和弥补,是平等获取知识的一种保障。从经济价值上来考量,目前图书馆购买力大约能够占到全部出版市场的 5% 左右,虽然不是举足轻重,也能算相当可观。本来这一部分投入就是应用于没有能力购买出版品的广大「长尾」读者,他们是出版市场的无效用户,这些没有市场价值的用户的阅读需求由图书馆这种制度设计来满足,公共资金(或捐助资金)购买的资源或服务实际上对于出版市场来说是额外的收入。数字出版其实也是如此,当然长尾用户的需求不一定通过图书馆来满足,但是图书馆肯定是一个拾遗补缺的、不可替代的渠道。对于如果数字资源不能通过公共图书馆进行提供,其就会丧失保障信息获取自由的职能,走向「博物馆化」就是个时间问题了。对于研究型图书馆和大学图书馆来说,一般对于开放存取具有本能的冲动,因为本身其所属机构就是学术出版的最大生产者,自己生产的知识,再通过商人的渠道,附加很多利润,再卖给自己,本身的商务模式就有许多荒谬之处,这些机构的联合所形成的购买力也是一个谈判筹码。相信进过不屑的努力,图书馆在数字资源的合理使用方面能够探索一些新的模式。

大学图书馆和研究型图书馆在向数字图书馆的过渡方面更有积极性,欧美国家已经认识到图书馆在数字时代亦然是教育和科研的基础设施,因此花巨资研究数字仓储、数字资源的保存、组织和利用问题。数字图书馆通常有两张面孔,除了现实中的古典庄重巍峨的大厦之外,通常在虚拟世界里也具有「课件中心」、「数据中心」、「学术信息中心」及「交流中心」等职能。无纸图书馆(E-Only)将在这两类图书馆中率先实现。不仅如此,这类数字图书馆将利用各种技术,将资源入口和服务「嵌入」到用户(通常是教授、研究人员和学生)的信息环境中(例如做成桌面工具、浏览器插件、工具条等),从而更加虚拟化而真正「无所不在」。

十年内可以弯折的电子纸应该能够得到商用,电子墨水技术在灰度级别和色彩深度方面已经能够超出普通人的需求,翻转速度能够应用于基本的视频播放。「电子书包」(即存储有所有教科书和教辅书的可写电脑)的普及可能会更快一些,电子书会也像 MP3 一样大行其道,这些载体在感官舒适度方面甚至会超过目前的普通纸张。所有这些变化将给新闻和出版行业全盘数字化提供巨大的市场动力,人们获取新闻和学习知识的习惯也会发生重大变化。

图书馆作为一种实体空间的作用和作为一种虚拟知识传播机构的功能将会彻底分开,实体机构的图书馆依旧作为公民知识生活的中心,而虚拟的知识传播通过各类渠道和设备(例如利用无所不在的「云计算」环境)而变得「泛在」,图书馆通过网络提供大量的信息服务,但是你可能丝毫都感觉不到它的存在。

由于数字化造成的媒体融合,许多大型的图书馆或图书馆联盟同时会扮演出版商和资源服务商的角色,向产业上下游同时挺进,特别是那些有独特资源或者能够提供深度信息咨询服务的图书馆(如议会图书馆和研究型图书馆等),一方面成为知识的出版者和发布者,另一方面依靠新型电子报纸、电子书或手持设备,提供更为专指的内容分发业务,因而也可能兼具一定的媒体角色,但是这类图书馆可能为数很少。

图书馆行业现在正处于历史上独一无二的阶段,原先的产业链已经松动、断裂,新的链条尚未建立、成型。图书馆在社会中所承担的职能虽然没有本质的变化,但角色已经发生了重大变化,图书馆不再仅仅是伫立于街角等待别人上门的一栋大楼或者几个房间,而是人们电脑桌面的一个图标,手机上的几个应用,Kindle 上的一个帐号,等等。图书馆的服务流程与人们的学习生活密切相关,同时图书馆事业作为一个整体,依旧支撑着人类所有的知识记忆。

英国哲学家波普尔曾经做过一个著名的「思想实验」:如果地球遭到毁灭,我们可以依靠图书馆中保存的人类记忆,花费一两代人的时间,重建整个人类的文明。而如果图书馆也遭到毁灭了,人类将重新进入一个漫长的文明重建时期。我由此推理,由于数字图书馆的存在,我们重建人类文明的时间将大大缩短,甚至就像恢复备份一样容易。

(本文写于2010年初,Apple4.us约稿,目前该网站已不可考)