On Thursday, November 20, I gave a talk about the Digital Orientalist at the conference of the Middle East Librarians Association, at the George Washington University, Washington. My main conclusions were the following:
- I invite all to step forward and share their own experience with (or reflections on) technology, either on the Digital Orientalist or on their own websites. This is much needed as know-how is relatively low in the Humanities.
- I encourage all to educate those around them on the value of technology and digital tools, not only to make use of them but also to value the work of colleagues who spend time and energy building them as equally as those who publish books/articles.
- I appeal to all in decision-making positions, especially librarians, to be careful in the process of purchasing access to electronic products and services; only those publishers who correctly change their business model deserve our encouragement and those who hold on to outdated models based on the scarcity of a certain product (i.e. books/articles) should be disregarded or asked to change. I am in particular thinking of EBSCO and ProQuest who claim to offer digital access to books but in fact cripple technology and imprison these products. This is not the future. By investing in these services you are investing in the past.