EDITORIAL

[The future of scientific libraries]

Luca De Fiore
Recenti Progressi in Medicina 2013, 104 (10): 511-4
24326701
"Making predictions is always very difficult, especially about the future". Niels Bohr's quote is very appropriate when looking into the future of libraries. If the Web is now the richest library in the world, it is also the most friendly and therefore the most convenient. The evolution of libraries in the coming years - both traditional and online - will probably depend on their ability to meet the information needs of users: improved ease of use and better reliability of the information. These are objectives that require money and - given the general reduction in budgets - it is not obvious that the results will be achieved. However, there are many promising experiences at the international level that show that the world of libraries is populated by projects and creativity. Traditional or digital, libraries will increasingly present themselves more as a sharing tool than as a repository of information: it is the sharing that translates data into knowledge. In the healthcare field, the integration of online libraries with the epidemiological information systems could favor the fulfillment of unconscious information needs of health personnel; libraries will therefore be a key tool for an integrated answer to the challenge of continuing education in medicine. The Internet is no longer a library but an information ecosystem where the data are transformed into knowledge by sharing and discussion.

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