Accessing the works of the past: between mass industry and relational craft

The various projects for digital libraries are all too often measured by the size of their catalogue: the number of items on offer is the key argument for their implementation and promotion. Given the industrial scale of the set-up needed for mass digitisation and to catalogue digitised works and make them available, libraries should be promoting their skills, well honed over time and still relevant today. Libraries are mainly based on services to readers: this truism is as relevant to digital libraries as it is to physical holdings. The role of libraries as mediators should be protected now more than ever.