08/03/2013 · The libraries, they are a changing

Generally, most users in academic libraries engage in writing based on research or “research based writing.” How are we to understand this particular genre that consumes so many users’ time and instructors’ assessment.

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Most public libraries are offering much more than reading material these days

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Less precise and much harder to summarize is Mill’s view of the economic roles of the contemporary state. On this theme his thinking after 1848 underwent pronounced changes in response to transformations in society and the currents of European opinion. It was the ethos of his philosophy to further the full and free development of every human individual. He doubted, however, whether the existing industrial society offered the best environment for such development, since sometimes it failed to permit even the most harsh and exhausting labour to earn the bare necessaries of life. It fostered inequalities between groups, gave advantages to some, and imposed impediments on others. He believed that in existing society remedies for man’s plight must be sought through a variety of institutions: co-operative industrial associations might replace the wage system, reformed proprietorship might replace land monopoly, and restrictions on the right of inheritance might reduce the general extent of inequality. Many new and untried instruments of economic control are possible and must be employed under the direct or indirect initiative of the state.

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While the themes and purposes of these essays show much similarity, their provenances, comparative weights, and histories are diverse. Two of them, and are separate monographs, the former of which went through, in Mill’s lifetime, four Library Editions and the latter, three; each also appeared in often-reprinted inexpensive People’s Editions. Both of these have, it need hardly be said, earned a lasting place in discussions of British political thought. Of the other eleven items (excluding the Appendices), one, first appeared as a pamphlet, which went through two editions and then was republished in Volume III of Mill’s and another is a solicited paper in support of competitive civil service examinations, which was first published in and then reprinted as a pamphlet.

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What is it that has hitherto preserved Europe from this lot? What has made the European family of nations an improving, instead of a stationary portion of mankind? Not any superior excellence in them, which, when it exists, exists as the effect, not as the cause; but their remarkable diversity of character and culture. Individuals, classes, nations, have been extremely unlike one another: they have struck out a great variety of paths, each leading to something valuable; and although at every period those who travelled in different paths have been intolerant of one another, and each would have thought it an excellent thing if all the rest could have been compelled to travel his road, their attempts to thwart each other’s development have rarely had any permanent success, and each has in time endured to receive the good which the others have offered. Europe is, in my judgment, wholly indebted to this plurality of paths for its progressive and many-sided development. But it already begins to possess this benefit in a considerably less degree. It is decidedly advancing towards the Chinese ideal of making all people alike. M. de Tocqueville, in his last important work, remarks how much more the Frenchmen of the present day resemble one another, than did those even of the last generation. The same remark might be made of Englishmen in a far greater degree. In a passage already quoted from Wilhelm von Humboldt, he points out two things as necessary conditions of human development, because necessary to render people unlike one another; namely, freedom, and variety of situations. The second of these two conditions is in this country every day diminishing. The circumstances which surround different classes and individuals, and shape their characters, are daily becoming more assimilated. Formerly, different ranks, different neighbourhoods, different trades and professions, lived in what might be called different worlds; at present, to a great degree in the same. Comparatively speaking, they now read the same things, listen to the same things, see the same things, go to the same places, have their hopes and fears directed to the same objects, have the same rights and liberties, and the same means of asserting them. Great as are the differences of position which remain, they are nothing to those which have ceased. And the assimilation is still proceeding. All the political changes of the age promote it, since they all tend to raise the low and to lower the high. Every extension of education promotes it, because education brings people under common influences, and gives them access to the general stock of facts and sentiments. Improvements in the means of communication promote it, by bringing the inhabitants of distant places into personal contact, and keeping up a rapid flow of changes of residence between one place and another. The increase of commerce and manufactures promotes it, by diffusing more widely the advantages of easy circumstances, and opening all objects of ambition, even the highest, to general competition, whereby the desire of rising becomes no longer the character of a particular class, but of all classes. A more powerful agency than even all these, in bringing about a general similarity among mankind, is the complete establishment, in this and other free countries, of the ascendancy of public opinion in the State. As the various social eminences which enabled persons entrenched on them to disregard the opinion of the multitude, gradually become levelled; as the very idea of resisting the will of the public, when it is positively known that they have a will, disappears more and more from the minds of practical politicians; there ceases to be any social support for nonconformity—any substantive power in society, which, itself opposed to the ascendancy of numbers, is interested in taking under its protection opinions and tendencies at variance with those of the public.

Jan 22, 2010 · Times are changing for libraries everywhere

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We shall not enter into the considerations by which the author attempts to impress upon the Peers this elevated view of their function in the commonwealth. On a new body, starting fresh as a senate, those considerations might have influence. But the senate of France is not a new body. It set out on the discredited foundation of the old hereditary chamber: and its change of character only takes place gradually, as the members die off. To redeem a lost position is more difficult than to create a new one. The new members, joining a body of no weight, become accustomed to political insignificance; they have mostly passed the age of enterprise, and the Peerage is considered little else than an honourable retirement for the invalids of the public service. M. Duveyrier’s suggestion has made some impression upon the public, it has gained him the public ear, and launched his doctrines into discussion; but we do not find that the conduct of the Peers has been at all affected by it. Energy is precisely that quality which, if men have it not of themselves, cannot be breathed into them by other people’s advice and exhortations. There are involved, however, in this speculation, some ideas of a more general character; not unworthy of the attention of those who concern themselves about the social changes which the future must produce.

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