Libraries And Museums in the Flat World: Are They Becoming Virtual Destinations?
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In his recent book, “The World is Flat”, Thomas L. Friedman reviews the impact of networks on globalization. The emergence of the Internet, web browsers, computer applications talking to each other through the Internet, and the open source software, among others, made the world flatter and created an opportunity for individuals to collaborate and compete globally. Friedman predicts that “connecting all the knowledge centers on the planet together into a single global network… could usher in an amazing era of prosperity and innovation”. Networking also is changing the ways by which libraries and museums provide access to information sources and services. In the flat world, libraries and museums are no longer a physical “place” only: they are becoming “virtual destinations”. This paper discusses the implications of this transformation for the digitization and preservation of, and access to, cultural heritage resources.