The above discussion raises three very important points. The first point regards cultural misunderstanding. The problem with the "misbehaving consortium" may lie to some extent with our (e.g., U.S.) expectations of what cooperation looks like and what basic fundamentals an on-line library consortium must embrace in order to do its job well. In the Czech and Slovak case, not only were the conditions not in place, they were counterindicative. While our naïveté caused no harm (the opposite is the case, I am repeatedly told!), it remains to be seen what the final result will look like. And in the final result resides the really intriguing lesson: maybe it is not so much that we should have or even could have thought differently and therefore ended up doing "this" rather than "that." Perhaps it is in the (information) technology itself-in its very organization-that the source of our (mis)understanding lies. After all, these technologies were developed in one place and not another. Our library automation systems obviously embody a particular understanding of technical and public services and an organization of work that share the same culture as a whole tradition of other technologies that emphasize speed, volume (just think of the history of railroads or the development of the "American system" of manufacturing), and finally, access. Every single paper in this volume exemplifies and assumes this world. In transferring a technology from one place to another, an implied set of attitudes and habits is being marketed as well. The intriguing question is whether the latter emerges logically from the former in the
new location. To this possibility, my second point lends some support: technology transfer involves a time lag, the duration of which is impossible to predict and that is accounted for by a complex series of micropolitical adjustments. It is this human factor that transforms the logical progression in the projected implementation process into a much less logical but essentially social act. Thanks to this human factor, the whole effort may fail. Without it, the effort will not exist. Only after certain problems and not others arise will certain solutions and not others seem logical. It is no secret that much social change is technology driven. It is less clear, ethnographically speaking, what exactly this process means, and even less is known about it when technology travels across cultural boundaries. There is much to be gained from looking carefully at the different points in the difficult process of implementing projects such as CASLIN. Apparently the ripple effect reaches far deeper (inside the institutions) and far wider (other libraries, the government, the market, and the users) than anyone would have anticipated. Before it is even delivering fully on its promise, the original Mellon project is demanding changes in library organization and management. Such changes are disruptive, even counterproductive, long before they "settle in." Nevertheless, and this is my third point, internal organizational change involves a gradual but, in consequence, quite radical realignment of ties with the outside, that is, with the Ministry of Culture (which-at least on the Czech side-has taken a keen interest in supporting library automation throughout the country; on the Slovak side, unfortunately, the situation is rather different), with other libraries (there has been a slow but palpable increase in interlibrary cooperation on specific projects that involve the use of information technologies, e.g., retrospective conversion, newspaper preservation, and, I hope, the CASLIN Union Catalogue), and most important, with the public. How far reaching and permanent these shifts are is difficult to say, especially when any accomplishments have been accompanied by a nagging feeling that they were done on a shoestring and against all odds. The persistent inability of the governments to pass legislation and appropriate funding that would support the newly emerging democracies' entrance into the global, information age in a sustainable manner highlights a serious lack of vision as well as of political savvy.E
At the beginning of this paper I argued that in discussing the introduction of new technologies, specifically information technologies, it is important to pay attention to the point of transition, to see all that is involved in this change of habit and why it is not just a "matter of time." The body of this paper, I hope, provided at least a glimpse of some of the friction points involved. For the time being, the last word, like the first, belongs to an economist, in this case to Václav Klaus, the prime minister of the Czech Republic (1993-1997), whose opinions expressed in a recent op-ed piece on "Science and our Economic Future" make him sound like someone who has just bitten into a blue tomato only to find that it tastes like a peach.
Science is not about information, but about knowing, about thinking, about the ability to generalize thoughts, make models of them and then testable hypotheses that
are to be tested. Science is not about the Internet and certainly not about its compulsory introduction. (Klaus 1997)