Designing and Managing Information in the Fast Lane
Internet users have come to expect that the Internet is the place to go for quick access to current information. Indeed, as a recent user of a Web site maintained at the UIC Library comments , anything but current information is a sign of mismanagement and irresponsibility on the part of the content provider. As this user asserts, the World Wide Web is the place to for quick access to current information and the print medium is better suited to older information. Perhaps this response is a reflection of the relative newness of the medium. Many users come to the Internet with naive expectations about the quality and extent of information on the Internet. They do not understand the often intricate and constantly shifting issues involved in digitizing information for the client/server-based Internet, nor do they think of electronic life span of digital information. As a librarian involved in a number of digital information projects, the question of how to digitize information for the long term (more than the next six months) is the starting point for any project. Obviously librarians working as Web site designers and information managers want their sites to be as aesthetically pleasing, useable, accurate and dynanmic as current technologies allow. But how do we balance the demands of the fast lane of rapidly changing and evolving client/server technologies and user expectations with the responsibility of long term information management and preservation? This paper will address practical steps toward balancing these questions by reflecting on a number of testbed projects at the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.
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