The Conceptual Librarian

May 26, 2011

Goofy Google

Filed under: Uncategorized — conceptlib @ 7:08 pm
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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.

February 26, 2010

WARNING for all librarians!

Filed under: Uncategorized — conceptlib @ 9:17 am
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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.

February 1, 2009

How the Perverts of Wall St. can redeem themselves

Filed under: Uncategorized — conceptlib @ 4:15 pm
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What do you make of this? Whilst the economy burns the CEOs of Wall St. pay themselves $20 billion in bonuses possibly funded by Federal bailout money.

Yep. They rack up trillions in losses yet don’t bat an eyelid when they syphon off vast amounts of tax payers’ money which has been placed into their management to revive the economy. I’m not surprised President Obama is hot under the collar on this issue.

But creepy and greedy as these activities are, there is an opportunity for redemption.

Public libraries around the country – and right around the globe – are crying out for funding as many of their parent bodies put the squeeze on, particularly during this economic downturn. A $20 billion (+ interest) donation from the weazels of Wall St. is exactly the shot in the arm libraries need to re-energize their collections and services.

The CEOs could further distance themselves from their contemptuous actions by participating in public lecture tours steeped in self criticism (old Soviet Union style). Talking points could include:

“I would’ve got away with it under the old guy, but we don’t want to do business that way any more.”

or

“I’m responsible for all you folks losing your jobs and homes. Come live in my luxury hotel-sized mansion.”

The $20 billion I’m talking about is bonus money, paid on top of their already exorbitant salaries. It is money taken out of the weekly paychecks of ordinary workers – those who don’t have the power or shiftiness to move all their money into some sleazy tax haven they share with mobsters and arms dealers.

The challenge is simple. Don’t hide the loot. Put it to good use. Invest it in the future by improving access to information today. Empower our citizens by showering public libraries with your endowments, and as the effects of your actions have been global – donate globally – particularly to the developing world.

This of course is an oversimplification of a complex situation, but those to whom this is aimed will get the gist of the argument and hopefully they’ll act appropriately.

December 5, 2008

Libraries (and the ideas they contain) are timeless

Quite understandably you may feel that the world isn’t going your way, that the imperative for growth is destroying the environment, that opportunists in power are lining their own pockets as well as those of their friends.

How can the evils of the world be remedied? Surely not by savagely eliminating those who are perceived to be the cause. That would just add to the evil.

To deconstruct the world in a manner that would tear apart the erroneous principles dominating economic thinking, one needs to be creative – like Gandhi – and passively resist the whole concept of the modern consumer society.

There’s no point in building up a reservoir of seething resentment, then at the boiling point participate in a mob or terrorist attack to sate your frustrations only to regret these actions at a later date.

Detachment from immediate emotional action or reaction is one of the themes of the graphic novel Watchmen in which one of the characters (Doctor Manhattan) is removed from human affairs by nature of his nonlinear perception of reality.

A librarian is in the same position – impartially acquiring books and information from all points of view to create a “balanced” collection which will be accessed at any point in the present or future by anyone of whatever political persuasion or purpose. [E.g. Karl Marx at the British Museum Library.]

Librarians are the conservators of ideas – no matter how evil or perverse. Unlike many of the bleeding heart prima donnas who prance upon the world stage, we actually do live by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Even in the so-called modern world, decades after the Nazi book burnings, we can find similar cases of intolerance and narrow-mindedness. A prime example is the deliberate destruction of the libraries and archives of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early 1990s by the Serbs attempting to obliterate the cultural identity of their perceived opponents.

In the 21st century we have the Great Firewall of China. Not as destructive of irreplaceable artifacts, but just as stifling on robust dialog and the free exchange of ideas. Any free trade agreement between China and Australia must include free trade in ideas. This means the dismantling of internet filters in China and the abandonment of proposals to filter politically incorrect sites (i.e. sites which offend the most influential lobby groups) in Australia.

Those who censor and destroy have a poor understanding of humanity and our imperative to explore all paths (without shackles) in our search for a better future.

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