Being a trained librarian, I don’t find the idea of an online collection that strange at all. After all, some of the courses in school were all about electronic collections. What with e-book readers becoming so popular these days, it is but expected that libraries will expand their collections to electronic format more and more.
The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Applied Engineering and Technology Library’s collection is something else altogether. Its collection is not a simple mixture of “real” books and electronic material, but is instead composed of ONLY electronic books. In essence, the library has no “real” books at all!
This has been the trend in the past years. Academic libraries across the United States have been reducing the number of bound volumes they keep in the premises – especially those books which are rarely accessed by their patrons. As you can imagine, having to keep print copies can take up a lot of space and cost the libraries in maintenance. With electronic copies, costs are reduced considerably and access is made even easier.
This development could very well open the floodgates for collections that are fully electronic. This is quite interesting, as there is sure to be criticism coming from those who adhere to old school principles. Yours truly things that bound volumes will always have a place in libraries, but we must adapt to changes in order to make information as freely available as possible. That’s not to say that I do not want to see old school libraries totally die out. What say you?