October 11, 2007

Thoughts on Other Peoples' Thoughts

Filed under: precat — jenny @ 5:36 pm

Lately I’ve read some very thought-provoking posts that I’ve wanted to comment on at length, but unfortunately I just don’t have time to do them each the justice they deserve right now. So here’s a starter pack to make you think about them instead.

  • Technology with Altitude

    “Ron Gardner, Contentdm specialist for OCLC, made the point that libraries are getting a lot more involved in the creation that goes on in libraries. It got me thinking that we are still a little fixated on what comes into the library (metadata creation, organization, even the library website) rather than caring as much as we should about what goes out.
    In a profession full of humanists and expert researchers, is it time for us to be thinking even more about what people produce in libraries, rather than simply finding them the right resources and leaving them to their best devices? Could the library profession be a key player in the quality of information that with or without our help is going to wind up available to millions through search and discovery mechanisms that are not of our own flawless (ahem) design? We’re already playing a role in the production of mass digitization of our existing resources and the creation of digital portals for our unique resources. Isn’t the next logical step to be the stewards of the things that are created from access to those things?” [Hectic Pace]

    My answer is an emphatic yes, although I believe Andrew is probably thinking about academic libraries in this context. I, however, read it as an extension of what I’ve been saying for years about public libraries. More on this soon, due in part to an interesting conversation I recently had with Taylor Willingham.

  • The Associaton for Library Services to Children is blogging away, and it’s home to a great post by Ann Crewdson about Second Life, Third Life, Fourth Life….

    “Many of us are in denial that we are in the age of digital natives. How many times have we walked by people whom we thought were crazy, only to find out that they have an earpiece attached to their cellphone? Watching someone using the Wii controller to jog around Second Life is even odder only because we’ve never exercised that way. Second Life is just another information place we can meet these people and serve them. It doesn’t have to be one world or another. We can straddle as many worlds as we want and be all the more information richer. We can even defeat a 12-year-old at a video game. It’s the same game, different skin. Second Life is the internet, in a different form. If we only set our minds to it we can free ourselves of our psychological barriers. If I can do it, you can do it too!”

    While I agree with a lot of what Ann says, it’s more the attitude that I wanted to note, because more than the technical know-how, that’s what makes “librarian 2.0.” It’s the willingness to play, experiment, and learn. Had Ann decided Second Life wasn’t for her or her library, I’d still highlight this post. It’s the folks who write something off without even trying it (especially while telling others that “no one needs to do this” or who spend all of 10 minutes doing something and then are surprised when the end result isn’t stellar) who work against the best values of our profession. This is true for many things, not just Second Life or virtual worlds. After all, we had this kind of debate around allowing email in the library, too, not so long ago.
    If you don’t care, that’s fine. But we now live in a permanent world of “and,” not “or,” and we can’t each do everything. Nor can we all do everything. So find your part of the “and,” and see what you can do with it. There’s a whole mess of digital honey out there to catch flies with.

  • If you haven’t already read Karen Schneider’s farewell post on the TechSource BlogSailing On, please do so now. She says a lot of the things that need to be said, and that’s me you see standing behind her, waving my hands in the air and singing “amen.” I can’t choose any one piece to quote, and there’s really nothing I can add.
    I can, however, complement it with a link to Peter Brantley’s post about Libraries Re-shaping.

    “The tiller of change is advancing on the field, the corn has been harvested, and the stalks will soon return to the soil. We better be thinking about the new crop, or the field will lie fallow.
    I appreciate the severity of my suggestions. I think this is a conversation that libraries should have, openly and vigorously, because half-measures will not suffice. I may be wrong in my specifics; an out-of-step troubadour with atonal music and lyrics in an offensive language. That’s fine. Other and better learned troubadours must surely exist to play the music that will capivate.
    Here we go …” [Peter Brantley’s thoughts and speculations]

    Although the post focuses on academic libraries, I’m going to give away the ending because it’s applicable across the board. It’s also why I’m optimistic about libraries and librarians.

    “Why effect these wrenching changes?
    Because It’s Time. The librarians that I have talked with – admittedly, they self-select, although they represent a cross section of functions – are ready to move forward into the future. We know how much things have changed; we’re not kidding ourselves. We know there should be fundamental transformation, even if some of us necessarily and selfishly want its expression to come in just-a-few-more-years. Yet, a bright future beckons. It is exciting, and we can be part of it. We know it – we have a huge range of skills, and we’re bursting with new ideas.”

1 Comment

  1. Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death

    Comment by Ingrid — August 23, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress