Every so often, The Guardian , which faithfully appears in my letterbox on 6 days a week, includes with the Saturday Review, a section from The New York Review of Books. Last Saturday, this included an article by Robert Darnton, entitled Can we create a national digital library? He defines the NDL as ‘a comprehensive library of digitised books that will be easily accessible to the general public’. It’s an interesting article and Darnton refers to providing schools with a huge range of e-books ‘million s of books’. The question here – and of course, it’s not a new one – is whether the NDL (or a similar version in Australia or the UK) would be useful mainly for TLs/SLs or for students. Giving Year 7 access to ‘millions of books’ to enhance their learning e.g. on volcanoes is unlikely to be very useful without serious mediation by the TL. That’s not to say that the NDL or its equivalent would not be an excellent resource, but it would have to be carefully managed.
Having a walk along Dunbar Harbour, you will often hear a sniffling noise from the water and when you locate the noise, you will see a grey seal popping its head above the water, sniffing and then elegantly rolling its body beneath the water. One is pictured below and it struck me that seals always have a very doleful look, as if they struggle through life, catching the occasional fish, but generally being grumpy about their prospects. I did try to ask this seal whether s/he was happy or not, but the response was a disdainful look and a slow dive under the water. Maybe s/he spoke a language other than English.