Web of knowledge

February 22, 2018

In their opinion article “Prints charming” (8 February) Al Martinich and Tom Palaima make an important claim that is demonstrably untrue. It is that the building of libraries in the US by the Carnegie Foundation between 1883 and 1929 and the cheapness of printed books “provided a level playing field that even the cheapest laptops, mobile devices and internet services cannot duplicate”.

The Internet Archive is a modern-day online Library of Alexandria with 15 million books in it. And rather than being available only in towns in the industrialised nations, these 15 million volumes are available now to the one-half of humanity that has internet access.

All sorts of bad things are happening to libraries, but it does not help us fight the cuts that limit people’s access to good things to read if we sentimentalise what printed books have done for us and misrepresent the huge extension of opportunities that the digitisation of books has already provided.

Gabriel Egan
Via timeshighereducation.com

Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@timeshighereducation.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

Please login or register to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments