To read this content please select one of the options below:

The library and the internet: introduction to the special issue

Boria Sax (Independent scholar at White Plains, New York, USA.)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 1 February 2008




The purpose of this paper is to introduce the special issue of On the Horizon, which is devoted to the next wave of innovation in online education; analyzes the traditional tension between the realm of books and reality, and to examine ways it which this may be influenced by digital technologies; and reviews possible alternatives to the structure of the traditional classroom for online education.


Building on the work of Hans Blumenberg, this article begins with analysis of the malaise that pervaded literary culture on the threshold of the digital age. It evaluates various educational structures and technologies as attempts to respond to this challenge.


Books not only contain but also structure learning, in fact they condition our expectations of what “knowledge” would be. The world of books has traditionally been opposed to that of “experience,” but digital technologies now provide new means of storing knowledge that transcend this dichotomy. This is a major change in the structure of knowledge, which will eventually transform our institutions of higher education.


This article shows how the development of digital media was not simply driven by technology but was a response to the exhaustion of literary traditions, as thinkers began to doubt whether there was anything more worth putting in print. This perspective enables the article to go beyond the technological determinism that pervades much futuristic writing, and suggest how we may innovate, particularly in education, while retaining continuity with the past.



Sax, B. (2008), "The library and the internet: introduction to the special issue", On the Horizon, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 6-12.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles