how does content creation fit in with the future of libraries?

I’ve had some great conversations this week about the role of librarians in the future. Most of these have arisen from the LITA session on libraries in 2023 that I didn’t attend, but I did listen to via the LITA Podcast. These conversations have been really interesting. We’ve talked about reference librarians who don’t necessarily work the reference desk and librarians as content creators. Fascinating stuff for a library geek.

I’ve been going on and on about librarians needing to create content for a while now. One of the particularly interesting conversations I’ve had was about the definition of creation. As one of my colleagues pointed out, if we’re filming a lecture and providing the video online to our community, we’re not actually content creators. We’re video creators. However, if we are creating pathfinders, we’re doing some level of creation, even if it’s just in the collection of specific works. If we’re creating information literacy games, we’re content creating.

Rather than answers, this leaves me thinking about the nature of creation in the culture of the library. I figure it’s pretty easy for us to agree that we should continue along the traditional lines of library work with preservation (through video, etc.), indexing, organizing, etc. of locally important content. But should we extend this further to capture and index as much locally created material as possible? Would this extend to student work on blogs or wikis (as one of my colleagues asked earlier this week)? What about actual creation of information by librarians through blogs or websites or games? Is this very different from bound indexes that librarians used to create before the days of excel files and easy word processing? If it isn’t different, why does it seem that a lot of librarians aren’t interested in contemporary content creation while there are indexes around to prove that this was an interest in creation in the past?

I’m still thinking a lot about this content creation business. It’s still pretty muddled in my mind. If you have any insights, please let me know!

buy or lease content?

Recently I read somewhere that all geeks should be subscribed to XM or Sirius Radio. And like any good geek, I looked into the services. And it’s a lot of money! I have a hard time justifying the $100+ dollars I’d have to pay per device plus the monthly subscription rate. With that much money I could buy a lot of albums on iTunes.

Which is a familiar feeling for me. A few years ago I questioned why anyone would ever choose to buy an online album when for just a little bit more you got the physical CD and artwork! I’ve come around on needing the physical object. Now I’d much prefer a digital copy kthxbye. No need to waste physical space in my house or office, and the digital copy saves me the step of ripping the CD to get it on my iPod.

So, in two(ish) years I’ve made the transition from analog to digital, and this gets me thinking of libraries. We’re going through this transition, too. It’s hard to give up the physical thing for a digital version, even when there are merits to the digital one. (For me, it’s one less thing to put away. In the library it might be that the digital version is easier to search.)

So now that I’m down with the digital, why can’t I wrap my head around leasing? That’s another issue libraries are dealing with, but this is one I’m not as sure about. It’s really scary to pay money and not know for sure if you’ll have access to the things you love most in the future. This is why it’s easy for me to get behind iTunes but hard to get behind satellite radio or rhapsody. With iTunes I know exactly what I own, and exactly what I will own in the future. If I’m leasing the content, who’s to say that I will have access to my favorite song in 5 years?

This is why even though I use Netflix, and have all kinds of fabulous movies delivered to my house, I still have a wish list of movies I want to own. I want to make sure I have access to them if they become so unpopular that Netflix quits offering them or they change their pricing.

So I wonder if two(ish) years from now I’ll be thinking back to how there once was a time where I insisted on ownership. For now, though, I’ll happily take spending a little extra to know I’ll have ownership later over the ethereal nature of online leasing. I wonder, too, if my professional life will impact my personal one. If because I become comfortable with the idea of leasing at work, will I become comfortable at home?

How do you feel? Own physical? Digital? Lease?

blog preservation

As folks who know me in person know, I really think preservation of online media is of growing importance.  Super important, really.

If you have an opinion (either way) you might want to help some folks at UNC-Ch out with their survey on blog preservation: .  It took me about 10 minutes.