After quite a long hiatus, The Conceptual Librarian is back.
It is time to make sense of all the changes that have occurred in the last few years in the information world, particularly now when it appears that facts and theory have been subjugated by feelings: if it feels right it must be right no matter what the facts of the matter are. Librarians stand in the middle. We are here to provide access to the facts, the research, whilst understanding why people feel that things aren’t right and that perhaps change has taken them way out of their comfort zone.
Our professional impartiality allows us to appreciate all sides of an argument and easily spot how information sources – particularly the media (including social media) – are used to frame the debate and influence opinion.
With information saturating the universe at almost the speed of light, we are in danger of being swept away by trending (and generally ephemeral) ‘topics.’
The library is here to provide perspective and to nurture intelligence.
Note how Google Ads tramples over the sensativities of the protestors in this item by suggesting a local company to do the dirty work of getting rid of those pesky library books.
Historians say information on whether or not Whitney Olsen got the whole baseball team off would otherwise have been lost to time.
Check out this item the The Onion. It is a bit too sleazy and low-PC to link to the company site, so here it is. Make of it what you will, however it does highlight the dangers of accepting unverified information on face value, which appears to be the trend on the internet.
Local Water Tower Celebrates 50th Year As Repository Of Information On Who Is A Slut
In the tradition of Hitler ranting about anything from St Kilda losing the Grand Final to the World Cup vuvuzela, comes Julie Bishop’s death stare.
Check out these two:
Dewey would be completely at sea with this blending of fact and fiction or fact plus fact into fiction. The satirical Post-Dewey world of anything-goes-so-take-nothing-seriously is accessed by keyword (or tag) searching in an environment where the popular (doesn’t matter if it’s crap) wins out.
The other option is to pay the search gatekeepers to bring your product to the top of the pile. In the library world one hopes impartiality still reigns, however if it’s crap people desire, then in the words of Charlie Robinson “Give ’em what they want!”
When I worked at a newspaper, we were routinely dispatched to “match” a story from The Times: to do a new version of someone else’s idea. But had we “matched” any of The Times’s words – even the most banal of phrases – it could have been a firing offense. The ethics of plagiarism have turned into …the narcissism of minor differences: because journalism cannot own up to its heavily derivative nature, it must enforce originality on the level of the sentence. Trial by Google.
The implication is that because ideas cannot be copyrighted – but for some genius reason the structure of sentences can – you must become adept at “putting things in your own words.” You want to say exactly the same thing, but unless you substitute the original words with synonyms, you are in some way cheating.
The other way is to use inverted commas and acknowledge your sources. This will also give the impression you have done serious research (i.e. you haven’t just made it all up!)…. and you get brownie points for a well-populated bibliography.
Just downloaded the WordPress app for the iPhone and am sending a post. Interestingly when I read my other posts on the app they are riddled with HTML code.
I wonder if that code is somehow redundant. I know that when I copy and paste from a Word document I often have to reformat the thing to get rid of junk code created by Microsoft carriage returns and the like.
Let me investigate.
If our technology focus is on print, how do we expect to survive in the electronic world?
If we are not part of the infrastructure of our parent institution we are doomed to irrelevance.
Most of our students are digital natives so we have to get cracking.
We can’t disadvantage users depending on the type of device they use.
End users expect discovery and delivery to coincide.
In the words of public librarian Charles Robinson’ “Give ’em what they want.”
Space for print collections has given way to other priorities.
Amazon sells more ebooks than printed books.
The single purpose ebook reader is dead or will be.
Technology isn’t a long term investment.
Disintermediation (From Wikipedia)
In economics, disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: “cutting out the middleman.” Instead of going through traditional distribution channels, which has some type of intermediate (such as a distributor, wholesaler, broker, or agent), companies may now deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet.
In the library context, disintermediation means the death of the library. Instead of trying to find what they want from the library website (where it has been caringly hidden away into what is for them irrelevant silos such as Infotrac and Proquest), students will type their search into Google and be happy with what they retrieve… and in the case of TAFE students, whose information needs aren’t overly demanding, they will be satisfied with the results and probably get away with it. And we’re suddenly out of the loop! And the Finance Department is sharpening the razor.
One day I’ll sort out how to get a wave in here.