I have just got a hard copy of the JISC briefing paper on the Data Deluge: Preparing for the explosion in Data.

There are some good thoughts in here, and some key questions:

... e-research data are likely to be annotated automatically and stored in a digital archive or library? What will the role of libraries be in this context?

Indeed. As we all become responsible for our own information environment, my take on this is that the library function will become an advisory function because:

... Could some institutions act as repositories for scientific or technical data on behalf of a number of institutions?

Is likely to be more and more true … the cost of having local copies of all relevant materials (be they physical or digital) will become prohibitive. However, the cost of not having local expertise in how to find and utilise digital (and physical) objects will be too great for institutions. The library function will remain, it’ll just be different. Librarians like to call themselves Information Specialists, and it’s going to be true!

By the way, I also liked these useful quantifications of thousand fold increases:

  1 megabyte    A large novel  
  1 gigabyte    Information in the human genome  
  1 terabyte    Annual world literature production  
  1 petabyte    All US Academic Research Libraries  
  1 exabyte    2/3 of annual production of information