Theory

Today's digital information landscape

The main point of Eric Morgan's lecture is to bring home a single idea, namely, the what of library and information science has not changed so much as the how. Libraries are still about the processes of collection, preservation, organization, dissemination, and sometimes evaluation of data and information. While the mediums, environments, and tools have dramatically changed, the problems and services the profession addresses remain the same. If we focus on our broader goals -- see the forest from the trees -- then the profession's future is bright offering us many opportunities. If we focus too much on the particulars, then libraries and librarians will be seen as increasingly irrelevant. The following examples will hopefully make this clear.

The Librarian Paradox

Though I'm sure this isn't something new for many of you, The Librarian Paradox is new to me:

A librarian is wandering round her library one day and comes across a shelf of catalogues. There are catalogues of novels, poems, essays and so on, and some of these catalogues, she discovers, list themselves, while others do not.

In order to simplify the system, the hard-working (and rigorously logical) librarian makes two more catalogues. One lists all those catalogues that list themselves; the other lists all those that don't. Once she has completed this task, she has a problem: should the catalogue which lists all the other catalogues which do not list themselves, be listed in itself? If it is listed, then by definition it should not be listed. However, if it is not listed, then by definition it should be.

Extinction Timeline: what will disappear from our lives before 2050

Ross Dawson Points The Way to the Extinction Timeline created jointly by What's Next and Future Exploration Network. "When people talk about the future, they usually point to all the new things that will come to pass. However the evolution of human society is as much about old things disappearing as new things appearing. This means it is particularly useful to consider everything in our lives that is likely to become extinct."
The timeline lists libraries as being gone around the same time as Post Offices, just before Blogging and Desk Top Computers, and just after Computer Mice and "Getting Lost."

CAUTION: Paradigm Shift Ahead

Eric Schnell Is A librarian inclined to think that libraries are at risk, he am one of those open to many of the more radical ideas about how libraries need to change. Several of the other librarians he works with may gravitate towards ideas that support the traditional core values of librarianship and will reject those that involve redefining reference, circulation, and cataloging services. The resulting discussions are very intersting, if not polarizing.

The future of Web Services isn't the Library website

Karen Says: meeting your users where they are isn't about making them come to the library website. In considering our long term virtual presence plans, the library website is a given. People who come to the site know we exist and want to use our services. To truly be successful we have to get our content into the path of the people who wouldn't walk through our door (physical or virtual).

Utilitarianism and Public Library Use

shambolic57 writes "As a keen economic rationalist, albeit perhaps crucially for my credibility, one who works in a public library, I do take note of the musings regarding the dismal science and society at large over at Marginal Revolution.

Here is an interesting take on public library usage and the factors that one might employ in selecting books to read.

Hey LISNewsers- why not head over and leave a comment."

21 Tips to Deal with Info Overload

21 Tips to Deal with Info Overload What follows are a number of tips, to be used together or separately, depending on your needs, that will help you become the Master of your information, and stop the onslaught of information overload, so that you can reconnect with what's truly important in your life.

Simplicity Is Not Merely The Absence Of Complexity

Simplicity Is Not Merely The Absence Of Complexity: A post by Steven Bell over on the Designing Better Libraries Blog. Steven asks "How do we resolve the need for complexity with the desire for simplicity? I don't quite have the answer, but I do like to read about this issue as it helps to better understand the issues."

If Libraries had shareholders...

Over on The O'Reilly Radar Peter Brantley takes a look at some stats. Though, he says, they do not reflect on the total value of libraries, and they surely do not pass judgment on the highly skilled information specialists that staff them. They do suggest that something momentous has changed in the fundamental environment that libraries operate within. And one has to think: if libraries had shareholders, would they, like newspapers, be in the midst of a gut-wrenching, brake-screeching exercise in redefinition?

Digital Reference: Will there still be a desk?

Digital Reference: Will there still be a desk?: A good collection of links from Stephen Francoeur on the future of "the desk." Librarians have been busy this year debating the future of reference. The blog posts all offer a rich set of comments that gave him quite a few ideas, not so much prognostications about the future but instead a vision of how he would like to see our college library's reference desk changed. In his next post, he'll tackle that.

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