Inheriting library cards to Babel and Alexandria: Contemporary metaphors for the digital library

Gooding, Paul and Terras, Melissa (2017) Inheriting library cards to Babel and Alexandria: Contemporary metaphors for the digital library. International Journal on Digital Libraries, 18 (3). 207–222. ISSN 1432-1300

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Abstract

Librarians have been consciously adopting metaphors to describe library concepts since the nineteenth century, helping us to structure our understanding of new technologies. We have drawn extensively on these figurative frameworks to explore issues surrounding the digital library, yet very little has been written to date which interrogates how these metaphors have developed over the years. Previous studies have explored library metaphors, using either textual analysis or ethnographic methods to investigate their usage. However, this is to our knowledge the first study to use bibliographic data, corpus analysis, qualitative sentiment weighting and close reading to study particular metaphors in detail. It draws on a corpus of over 450 articles to study the use of the metaphors of the Library of Alexandria and Babel, concluding that both have been extremely useful as framing metaphors for the digital library. However, their longstanding use has seen them become stretched as metaphors, meaning that the field’s figurative framework now fails to represent the changing technologies which underpin contemporary digital libraries.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2016 Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords: digital libraries,metaphor,theory,babel,alexandria
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2016 00:25
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2020 00:04
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/60037
DOI: 10.1007/s00799-016-0194-2

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