This rocks my world. I want all of my students to read this and ponder not only the future of books and description but the future of libraries.
It is both ironic and poignant that librarians are still worrying about “bibliographic control,” after ceding so much of the same to the companies that now rent them journal access per annum at usurious rates, digitize their book collections into DRM obscurity, or sell them ponderous, antiquated “management” systems that on close inspection do little more than serve as storehouses for the metadata specific to the formats of bygone eras, bold days when we saw our central roles as defenders and curators of our cultural heritage.
We do need a train–a clue-train. The paper-based book is already a metaphor; books are now born in digital format. The New York Times on my breakfast table is heaving its death rattle, if I listen closely enough. Looking ahead ten, twenty, fifty years, do any of us believe that the issues of access and description will not be driven overwhelmingly by issues related to digital content—some of it in fantastical, ever-mutating new forms (q.v. the networked book forms such as those proposed by The Institute for the Future of the Book)?