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Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Hybrid Librarians Toolkit

[I'm 41 years old, so my ability to listen to a presentation and take notes on it whilst writing up the previous two blog posts is limited. Coherency and depth of understanding may suffer. There is, however, coffee in the meeting rooms, so huzzah.]

Jessamyn's next presentation (OLC does try to get its money's worth out of speakers!) was Until We're All Robots: Sensible Approaches to Technology in Libraries. She outlines what in the current environment that so many of us find threatening: "We are entering a playing field where our users may know more than we do, about a lot of things." Digital information is inevitable, and libraries of all sizes are going to have keep coping with this in expanding ways. We are a hybrid librarians, and this, she suggests, is our toolkit:
She went on to talk about various hot-button issues, like interface design (to many people, the interface is the information), copyright and digital rights management, filtering, social software ("First you've never heard of them, then they're legislated against in your library.") For each of these, the toolkit provides (as advertised) a sensible approach: What are we trying to do for them? What part of all this is our responsibility? Let them know that we're learning as they are.

One thing I forgot to mention: Jessamyn pointed out that elsewhere on the Internet, novice users can recognize a search box, type words into it, and generally find what they need. So they come to the library with those expectations, and our tools aren't that sophisticated. It's long past time that they should be.
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