Tag Archives for libraries
For the upcoming Canadian Health Libraries Association 2011 conference, a group of health librarians including myself are putting together a poster that traces the career paths of five qualified health librarians who all work outside of a traditional library settings. The goal of this reflection is to explore what brought us to our current positions, how the field of health librarianship is evolving, and how library and information studies Master’s programs can better prepare their students for careers that may not take place in “a library” but still call for the information professional’s skill set of searching, synthesis, instruction, and information fluency.
Because we are each tracing our own development, we wanted a theoretical frame to guide the analysis and a way to interpret one another’s responses. Additionally, we needed to account for the fact that we are all trained as librarians, but do not currently work “in libraries.” So to underpin the interview questions that we designed, we used the Chaos Theory of Career Development, which accounts for the inevitability of attractors and chance events in one’s career decision making.
The next steps include analyzing all of our responses for thematic elements, and collating those onto a poster for dicussion. The idea of a career paths got me thinking of visualizing each respondent in a color, like the subway map above. This is just one idea of how to present this visually, and I’m hoping for some more inspiration as the process goes on.
As a teaser, I’ll include one of my responses below (though you can always ask for more). I haven’t asked the others yet, but I’m hoping some of my co-presenters will agree to share some of their responses as well.
1. Describe how you came to have your current position: How did you find out about it? How and why did you obtain or create the position? How (if at all) has it evolved over the time?
I heard through a personal connection that my current position was open, and as luck would have it my immigration documents had come through after graduation and I was able to apply. I was selected for the the position through a combination of traditional librarianship skills–information retrieval, needs assessment, research synthesis, teaching–and some unique skills that I brought by either personal interest or chance–knowledge and experience with social media being foremost among them.
My position is quite flexible, and it evolves with the project load of the office as well as accommodations for personal and professional interests. Currently I work on a lot of web strategy because that is where there is a need in both practical office knowledge translation efforts as well as in research design. But I have the sense that my responsibilities will continue to shift as my skills as a librarian are taken full advantage of by my colleagues, as funding priorities ebb and flow in eHealth, and as our existing projects continue to follow their natural life cycles.
Interesting (and by that I mean I pitifully ignorant) viewpoint on the future of libraries from a technology review editor, recently.
Why would I go or deal with a library to borrow a book? You don’t have to go there, right?
This is weird. Why would a library have anything to do with virtual books? It doesn’t make sense. Locality is about physical books. They’re physically available in a certain place, so your library houses them, but once they’re virtual, locality goes out the door. It’s weird. [...]
The local library’s really starting to get shaky to my mind, unless it’s for the poor, the unemployed, the homeless, and the very old. That’s what libraries are for now. What kid in high school is going to get anything out of the library? Seriously, you’ve got some ninety-year-old reference librarian who’s going to point you to what, a Britannica volume to look something up? All you’ve got to do is Google. For crying out loud.[...]
I’m a little “shaky” on the context of these comments, but librarian demographic stereotyping aside, he forgot to mention some things that I’d just like to point out, including:
- Not everyone has access to Google
- Not everyone knows how to use Google effectively
- There are other ways of finding things on the internet, especially when doing research, besides Google
- Google does not provide answers to questions. Google serves webpages that it judges as “relevant” to user “queries” which are composed of proprietarily defined (read: secret) relationships between keywords, links to and from pages, and many other variables.
- If, for the rest of my life, I had to read every book I couldn’t afford to purchase from a bootlegged .mobi file that I downloaded from The Pirate Bay, I would stop reading. And, I am not “poor, unemployed, homeless or very old,” either.
The full podcast is here, please listen to it and tell me they bring these things up. For now, I think I’ve heard enough.
It’s a talk from Paul Boag, a web designer from the UK. The talk is about a year old, but that doesn’t mean that it’s out of date: on the contrary. Especially given the recent spot-on XKCD comic that broaches this very issue, these thoughts on redesigning your institution’s (or library’s, or office’s, or personal) website are helpful, straightforward and worth paying attention to.
I just completed my term-long directed study project on establishing social media in academic libraries, and am quite pleased with the final result. For the study I compiled as many references I could find to social media, higher education, academic libraries, strategic planning and policy and mashed them all up into a narrative review. The result is a grounded argument for moving from program experimentation to accepted and strategic social media initiatives. If you’re game enough to read it, I decided to toss it up on my Slideshare for download.
Not to spoil the ending, but it’s the best part:
The challenge of adopting social media in the academic library is not new, but only now are librarians and scholars beginning to tackle the advanced management of social medial programming head on. Further research on new learners and information literacy will bolster the evidence needed for librarians to begin shifting institutional culture. Additionally, the sharing of professional practice is always recommended, no matter the channel. However, the onus is now on the librarians, managers and institutions to prepare the way forward for social media in the academic library. Our users are changing along with their information practices, and the time has come to bridge the information gap between library experimentation and established service. We can either meet our users out there to collaborate, or wait endlessly for their return.
The American West: land of the free, home of the brave, frontiersmen on the brink of discovery and families that braved it all for a piece of the big sky. Pioneers heeding the call of mystery: the invisible pull on your heart, a quiet whisper on the breath of the wind, that takes hold and doesn’t let go until you strap on your spurs and head out, following the sunset.
A couple hundred years later, frontier librarians have taken the charge of this bedrock region and are forging new alliances; merging melting pot wisdom with traditional American values. The result? The Douglas County History Research Center.
Moving across the pond, so to speak, we find ourselves down under, at the Flickr pool for something called Re-Picture Australia. This project allows Flickr users to take public domain images of all things “australiana” from the National Library, and remix, mash-up and generally “2.0″ them into something new. Users then title and tag their images for them to be available for display in both the Flickr pool as well as on the National Library’s project site.
This is but one part of a large project undertaken by the National Library of Australia entitled “Picture Australia.” Essentially the National Library and many other institutions have submitted photographs to the project to be displayed in a giant, centralized digital repository. It is an ambitious project to be sure, and the thing I like about this is that they are throwing in user-submitted images right next to the institutional images. Talk about a two-way street!
Side show at the Vermont state fair,
Originally uploaded by
The Library of Congress
Now we will be turning to the eminent, the evanescent, the entropic Library of Congress, to examine their Flickr know-how. Outlook good.
From the home page, hiding away towards the bottom-right is a link to some info about their Flickr projects. Turns out that they have quite the collection, and they are actually co-founders of something called “The Commons,” which is a project on Flickr to generate user tags and classification for some of their public domain photographs. There are now around 15 museums and libraries contributing to and participating in this project. A similar project is underway at Steve.museum.
On This Day in History – Oct 9th:
Che Guevara is killed
Originally uploaded by
Clemens & Alcuin Libraries
This is too cool to pass up. Sister schools in Minnesota, St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, have a huge collection of web-powered utilities as part of their services and I got all excited paging through all the multiple different types of Web 2.0 tools they tap into.
They blog. They podcast. They IM. They have a Flickr photostream which they actually advertise. I’m not saying that all of these things are perfectly implemented, and it looks like their online books and slideshows are somewhat of a work in progress, but so far what I’ve seen here is definitely heartening.
Here’s another great example of how to attract users and use Flickr in the process.
This summer, the British Library put on an exhibit called “The Ramayana: Love and Valour in India’s Great Epic.” Essentially, the exhibit was showcasing illuminated manuscripts of the epic story of Rama, and had a slate of other programming to accompany it. Hundreds of manuscript images were on display, and, in a wonderful moment of extreme Library 2.0 fever, someone decided to start a Flickr group to assemble some users takes on Ramayana imagery.