Show Less
Restricted access

The Future of the Library

From Electric Media to Digital Media


Robert K. Logan and Marshall McLuhan

Originally written in the late 1970s, this book was untouched for more than 35 years. McLuhan passed away before it went to press, but Logan always intended to finish it. Even though much has changed in the three decades since work on the project was halted, many of the points that McLuhan and Logan made in the era of ‘electric media’ are highly cogent in the era of ‘digital media.’
Looking at the future of the library from the perspective of McLuhan’s original vision, Logan has carefully updated the text to address the impact of the Internet and other digital technologies on the library. McLuhan prophetically foreshadowed the transformative effect that computing would have on «mass library organization,» saying it would become obsolescent. It is perhaps no coincidence that a key theme of the book is that libraries must strive to create context given today’s hyper information overload. The authors believe this task can be achieved by putting together a compact library of books providing an overview of human culture and scholarship.
This book is based on the original text that McLuhan and Logan wrote. Logan’s updates are integrated in the main text and clearly identified by markers. This preserves the flow of the original text and at the same time provides updates in the context of the original study. Other significant updates include two new chapters: Chapter 6 provides a LOM (Laws of the Media) treatment of the new post-McLuhan digital media, and Chapter 7 discusses the impact of these media on today’s library. A second part to the concluding Chapter has been added to update some of the conclusions reached in 1979, and there is also a new preface.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access



Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Logan, Robert K., author. | McLuhan, Marshall, 1911–1980, author. Title: The future of the library: from electric media to digital media / Robert K. Logan. Description: New York: Lang, [2016] | Series: Understanding media ecology, ISSN 2374-7676 (print), ISSN 2374-7684 (online); vol. 3 | “All the chapters of this book were co-authored by Marshall McLuhan and Robert K. Logan with the exception of 2015 Preface, Chapters 6 and 7 and Part 2 of Chapter 13, which were authored by Robert K. Logan in 2015. The original material co-authored by Marshall McLuhan and Robert K. Logan circa 1979 is presented unedited exactly as it was written then. However Robert K. Logan has inserted parenthetical remarks to this material to bring it up to date where necessary or to comment on the 1979 material from a 2015 perspective. These parenthetical remarks are encased in {curly brackets}.” | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2015035203| ISBN 9781433132643 (paperback: alk. paper) | ISBN 9781453917701 (e-book) Subjects: LCSH: Libraries—Forecasting. | Libraries—Aims and objectives. | Libraries—Information technology. | Libraries and the Internet. | Libraries and society. | Digital media. Classification: LCC Z665.L785 2015 | DDC 027—dc23 LC record available at

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

© 2016 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York 29 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10006 All rights reserved. Reprint or...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.