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The Library: Knowledge Centre of the Past, Present and Future


Admission requirements

Only accessible for MA students Book & Digtal Media. Others may contact the course coordinator.


This multi-faceted course will survey the full range of the library’s tasks today. Through its historical transformations the library has always remained a crucial centre for the collection, storage and dissemination of knowledge. Topics will be treated by experts in the field and include the theory and practice of collection development, storage, access and (financial) management; information services; the history of libraries; library materials (from manuscripts to printed and electronic documents); the digital back office; research and development; digitization; and copyright and licensing issues. The course is facilitated by the National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) in The Hague.

Course objectives


  • gain a broad understanding of the position of libraries in the information age;

  • gain a broad understanding of the development of libraries and their tasks and materials in the past, present and future;

  • gain an understanding of the four main tasks of a library: acquisition, cataloguing, preservation and providing access;

  • get familiar with the digital back office;

  • gain a broad understanding of current issues: digitisation, library finances, copyright, licensing principles.


Timetable on the website

Mode of instruction

Weekly two-hour lecture.

Course Load

The course load of this course is 5 EC, which equals 140 hours.

  • hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 26

  • time for studying the compulsory literature: 52

  • time spent on preparing the assignment and the exam (including reading / research): 62

Assessment method

Midterm paper (25%) and final take-home examination with essay questions (75%). The final mark is established by determining the weighted average of these two assessments. In case of an insufficient result, the resit consists of the same parts as the first opportunity; students therefore only take the resits for those parts that were insufficient.


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

Literature will be specified during the course; all online accessible.


Enrollment trough uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact details

Media Studies student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;

Coordinator of studies: Mr. J. Donkers, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 1.02b.


Participation in all sessions of this course is compulsory. Upon prior consultation, the course coordinator can permit absence at one session for compelling reasons. Students who are absent twice in a semester course (13 weeks) will be given an complementary assignment by the lecturer. Absence on three sessions in this course will lead to exclusion from it.