This is a huge project, that no doubt took monumental levels of planning and organization to pull it all off in time for the unveiling presentation at Internet Librarian. It’s also a great example of how using tools that are available in the mainstream you can have a massive, collaborative project spanning the globe. If you are a fan, too, say it on Facebook!
I feel extremely fortunate to have been asked to speak at the South Carolina Library Association conference by the College and University Section. I met a bunch of great people, enjoyed the presentation, and a lovely time overall. An added bonus was that I was able to catch up with my friend, Mary H., who was the person who hired me for my first real library job.
Here are the slides if you’re interested:
As is typically the case, you can’t tell exactly what I said based on the slides, so if you were there (or not!) and have questions, please let me know!
I’m a big fan of the Chronicle’s Tech Therapy Podcast (RSS here). It’s short enough that it’s easy to make time for, comes out with a regularity that ensures that it is reasonable to keep up with, and the topics are always interesting for tech minded folks.
In the past bit, there have been a few episodes of particular interest to library folks, too. Here are two that potentially are interesting for people interested in the future of libraries.
Carlson, S., & Arbogast, W. Libraries vs. IT Departments., Tech Therapy. Retrieved December 2, 2008, from http://chronicle.com/media/audio/v55/i07/techtherapy/.
This episode tries to tease out the differences between libraries and IT departments. Some key areas of difference:
- Gendered nature of both fields
- IT is a relatively new field, libraries have a sense of history
- Libraries are mission/meaning focused rather than task focused
- Librarians identify with the type of work faculty do
- Both library staff and IT staff are passionate about information
Some key areas of similarity:
- Refer to clients as users
- Not necessarily good with people (need to know it all)
- Changing work environment, the nature of technology
- Library uncertain about the future. If all libraries are doing is licensing e-resources, what is the role of a librarian? Similar to recent commodity IT services issues.
- Resistance to change (due to tradition or pace of work)
- Both might feel a second class citizenship status on campus
- Trying a number of things just to see what sticks
Carlson, S., & Arbogast, W. The Future of College Libraries., Tech Therapy. Retrieved December 2, 2008, from http://chronicle.com/media/audio/v55/i14/techtherapy/.
- Forum/amphitheater in the middle of the library
- Art gallery
Joked about membership fee and talked about how library buildings are changing function: becoming all things to all people. Many libraries (today) aim to be an academic commons: a social space, academic, mind-body-spirit, a place you can go without buying something.
Libraries have always been social spaces, but more explicitly so today. We’re trying to make them be places where people come, see each other, interact with faculty and students, etc.
The question: what will the library be like in 10 or 20 years? Both hosts made a clear case for paper books, but also for improvement on what we’ve done on the past. No matter what, there will be a growth in information, likely in both formats. These spaces have always brought people together in a social function, and will continue.
Discussed Green IT. Reminded audiences that books are easy to maintain, don’t require power, etc. With a rise in Green IT, difficult to make a 100% transition to e-resources. Discussed issue of ownership of paper vs. leasing of e-resources.
Education is about growing the body of knowledge. Storage unit doesn’t really matter to that. But all-or-nothing approach is short sighted.
Whether libraries move to bookless buildings (with offsite storage) or are more traditional, if librarians are there, it’s a library. Discussed importance of professionals who can help people find and use information. Books as a symbol beyond just an information medium.
As a librarian married to a future-oriented IT professional, the overlap of libraries and IT is an interesting area to me. I see a lot of transitions happening in libraries: more e-resources, a shift to full text search rather than only finding things by hierarchy and metadata, an emphasis on services and education, etc. I also see shifts in IT including a maturation of the field, a shift to providing access to offsite services, and a more focused attention on core areas of competency.
Up for grabs in all of this are a number of interesting issues. University data, traditionally maintained by IT could be perceived as something university archives might maintain. Educational technology could be a service that the library provides. Hosting blogs, wikis, and newer emerging technologies could fall to either group. Looking at many of the libraries I’m familiar with, I don’t see any clear cut trends about domains of some of these services at this point in time, but I’m seeing a lot of interesting discussion. Any trends that you see in these areas?