Library lessons from unlikely places

Steve Lawson has been doing some great writing lately, Library lessons from unlikely places is no exception. This one is two little observations of library lessons learned in non-library places that have been kicking around in his head for the past few years (really!). "Usability and the drive-thru window" and "How not to give a reference interview at the DMV">


Are We Trying Too Hard? Remember Department Stores?

Remember Department Stores? Stephen Abrams Asks Remember department stores? They tried to be everything to everyone. He also asks: "Do libraries try to be everything for everyone? Are we too diverse and unspecialized? Can we build a community presence that engages people in a positioning of libraries that isn't overly homogenized? What positioning do you want for your library brand? Who do we want to excite?"

Are Libraries Placing Value on Technology Innovation?

Eric Schnell asks Are Libraries Placing Value on Technology Innovation?. He says Job postings alone are not evidence that libraries are not placing a high enough value on innovation. If position recruitment can be an indicator of the the value libraries are placing on services, it appears we are continuing to grow our sustaining services (ah, the Librarian's Dilemma yet again) such as reference, technical services, and instruction. The administrative percentage may indicate the retirement bubble.
In the end, library organizations that do not place a value on disruptive technologies, and do not allocate resources and processes to deal with them, may find themselves faced with serious challenges in the coming years.

10 Reasons Why The Web Is Almost A Substitute For Libraries

Mark Y. Herring said the Internet is no substitute for a library in 2001. Now, in 2006, in an effort to save our profession, strike a blow for librarians, and, above all, correct the well-intentioned but misguided notions about what the future holds, here are 10 reasons why the Internet will soon be a substitute for the library for many people.

1. Everything I Need IS On The Internet.
2. Catalog This!
3. Quality Control Does Exist
4. Nothing Is Perfect
5. Check Out Dan Brown's Bytes @Your Library
6. The Ebook Is Coming
7. Look Ma, No Books!
8. Everything Is Born Digital
9. We No Longer Care What Was Written In 1970
10. The Internet Is Already Ubiquitous And Portable.

Must-Read Post on Information Overload

Zenmaster Librarian points to this mindblowing essay on information overload and how to cope. Why didn't someone think of this before?


Hyperlinks to establish referential identity and so common ground in blogs

An interesting post from over at Christina's LIS Rant raises an interesting point. She's taking a look at the seminal work in the communication literature from Clark and Brennan (1993) on common ground. It discusses how common ground is established in conversation and also reviews how features of different communications channels help/constrain grounding and how common ground can be different when communicating over different channels. For example, e-mail is reviewable and revisable, but not cotemporal or audible (in the traditional view). Common ground is established via the least collaborative effort required for the channel.

"I think the blogosphere has talked more about links establishing common ground in that they establish a common history and context. I link to librarians therefore I have an affinity towards librarians and/or I am one. More of placeing a person in their discipline via their blogroll and linking... but blogs are conversation..."

Whitepaper on the Future of Academic Libraries

Brian E. Surratt posted this New Collections and Services (The 5th and last part of his whitepaper) on the Future of Academic Libraries. The Entire Paper is a great read that is a must read for all those interested in Academia.

"To adapt to the information age, the library must expand its functions to encompass the entire life cycle of information. The library must go beyond acquiring information from our traditional sources, such as publishers, vendors, and the government. Our imperative is to develop and cultivate digital collections owned and hosted by the library, tailored to the information age."

Librarians Versus The Search Giants

Anonymous Patron writes "Medialoper You want a hot discussion? Put librarians, Microsoft, Google, and Bob Stein from the Institute for the Future of the Book on a SXSW panel to talk about issues surrounding book digitization (and call the panel "Revenge of the Librarians"An hour wasn't nearly long enough for the conversation - and the diverse audience proved that the issues surrounding digitization aren't limited to a small segment of the population."


Libraries, logistics and the long tail

Lorcan Dempsey Takes A Look at the many "long tail" discussions and says the real issue is how well supply and demand are articulated in a network environment. And when we think about it in this systemwide way the picture is less reassuring. Think of two figures. The first is that ILLs account for 1.7% of overall circulations. The second is about circulation.He says Libraries do indeed collectively manage a long tail of research, learning and cultural materials. However, we need to do more work to make sure that that long tail is directly available to improve the work and lives of our users.

What's the mission of the librarian in 2006?

Blogger Dan Chudnov has posted a very thoughtful answer to this question, based on the framework of the business book Good to Great by Jim Collins. In brief, his answer is: "Help people build their own libraries."


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