reports this month on the Prelinger Library
, an experiment in organizing knowledge in the digital age. Megan Shaw Prelinger, one of the founders of the library (the other being her partner Rick), describes
It was liberating and exciting to think about arranging books in a way that made intuitive sense to me, rather than to the Library of Congress or to Mr. Melvil Dewey and his decimal system.
Though the Prelingers are both committed to exploring the future of digital publishing (she is an editor of the online journal Bad Subjects
, Rick is the board president of Internet Archive
and they are both working to digitize their collection at the Prelinger Archive), they also think a physical archive is important because it allows for intellectual discovery. While traditional librarians dislike the library because it flouts convention and forward looking librarians see the physical archive as a thing of the past, I think there is something to the Prelinger approach. They get the best from a library: open access in digital form to individuals who cannot visit the library, and an experience in browsing and discovery to those who can.