“William F. Buckley Jr., my political opposite, once denounced the growing popularity of CD-ROM’s in student research. Shouldn’t young people learn from real books?
“I disagreed. Why not instead digitize a huge number of books and encourage the spread of book-friendly tablet computers with color screens and multimedia capabilities? (Decades later, we have a version of that in the iPad.) Buckley loved my proposal (‘inspiring’) and came out in the 1990s with two syndicated columns backing the vision. As a harpsichord-playing Yalie famous for political and cultural conservatism and cherishing archaic words, Buckley was hardly a populist in most respects. But he fervently agreed with me that a national digital library should be universal and offer popular content—both books and multimedia. The library should serve not just the needs of academics, researchers, and lovers of high culture.”
From David Rothman’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “It’s Time for a National Digital-Library System: But it can’t serve only elites”