Thursday, February 23, 2006

OA values are timeless

I am a new member here at OA Librarian, and should like to share my thoughts about the principles of open access that I value in my chosen profession.

First, open access (OA) to scholarly information in the digital world is not only a core value for me, but for many librarians. You could say it's in our DNA (well, I am a medical librarian).

Many themes that run through the writings of great thinkers in library science such as John Shaw Billings, Charles Cutter, Melville Dewey, Ranganathan - even current American Library Association (ALA) President Michael Gorman - revisit the notion of making information easily accessible by all who are made curious by it. These ideas fired my thinking in graduate school: organize information, remove barriers to its access, preserve access to knowledge for future generations. This is why I became a librarian. These values are central to OA.

As a medical librarian, I would only add that - inasmuch as it is practical - free, unfettered and open access to health information is a basic human right. I believe it is essential for the sustainability of our planet. For peace. Lack of access to reliable, trusted information in developing countries has led to a host of intractable health problems, too numerous to list.

I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues in the emerging era of open access. DG

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