I read Nesdill’s “Atkinson’s Control Zone: Ten Years Later” today. I see that the paper is dedicated to the memory of Ross Atkinson. I wonder if he were alive today, he might reconsider the terms he used to describe the library’s role in scholarly publishing. The connotations of the “control zone” term seem the opposite of what we are now trying to achieve. Today, we give these systems titles that imply quite the opposite like “open access” and “open archives initiative.” Maybe it would be appropriate to call these the “organized zones” or the “quality zones” as opposed to the the “untidy zones” or the “suspect zones.” She provides an nice graphic (fig. 1), though it would be interesting to see her take on unpublished, self-archived items like preprints, thesis, dissertations, course materials, learning objects, and institutional records, and how they might enter the “zone.”

Personally, I think the shift to open access is unavoidable, and it’s a change that we might embrace and foster. For another class, I’ve been reading Wheatley’s Leadership and the New Science and Cleveland’s “The Twilight of Hierarchy: Speculations on the Global Information Society.” I think both of these authors make points that are applicable here. Wheatley draws on natural science to inform organizational practices and states, “However long we may drag our feet, we will be forced to accept that information- freely generated and freely exchanged- is our only hope for organization. If we fail to recognize its generative properties, we will be unable to manage in this new world.” Commenting on the implications of a global information society Cleveland writes, “information by nature cannot give rise to exchange transactions, only to sharing transactions. Things are exchanged: if I give you a flower or sell you my automobile, you have it and I don’t. But if I sell you an idea or give you a fact, we both have it.” If information is a different animal (and it appears that it is), then it will require that we treat it differently than we have treated other commodities. We may have to adapt to its intrinsic characteristics. Open access might be an adaptation to the nature of information.