Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Public Library Branches Moving to Corporate Parks: Merging of Public and Private Content Resources

We've been noting for some time the role that public libraries have been playing with small businesses, but an item from The Roanoke Times highlights how library branches are becoming common assets in corporate parks. The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center is sponsoring the local library branch with subsidization similar to what it provides for other community-oriented services such as a health club. While there doesn't seem to be much input from the companies within the facility as to the collections in the branch so far, these kinds of facility enhancements are very likely to draw corporations far closer to public library facilities than ever before. With the Web positioning many key content assets as part of a greater public information infrastructure available to corporate users it only makes sense to extend this metaphor into common elements of collections used within corporate settings that have been traditionally managed by corporate library services. Federated search capabilities are increasingly common within corporate intranets, making the availability of public collections of premium content more easily integrated, Of course broader services such as Google could come along to simplify access to common premium collections as well, but the combination of traditional library resources with intranet-based access to a local library catalog may be a powerful combination worth exploring for many corporations.
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