A few possibilities for librarianship by 2015


Published on

The library profession is at a cross roads. Computer technology coupled with the Internet have changed the way content is created, maintained, evaluated, and distributed. While the core principles of librarianship (collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination) are still very much apropos to the current milieu, the exact tasks of the profession are not as necessary as they once were. What is a librarian to do? In my opinion, there are three choices: 1) creating services against content as opposed to simply providing access to it, 2) curating collections that are unique to our local institutions, or 3) providing sets of services that are a combination of #1 and #2. This presentation elaborates on these ideas and demonstrates some of the possibilities.

The most complete version of this presentation is located at http://infomotions.com/musings/future-2015/

Published in: Education

A few possibilities for librarianship by 2015

  1. 1. A  few  possibili,es  for   librarianship  by  2015   Eric  Lease  Morgan   University  of  Notre  Dame   November  26  and  30,  2009  
  2. 2. Types  of  libraries   There  are  many  individual  libraries,  but  there   are  only  a  few  different  types.  No  maJer  what   type,  they  all  share  a  number  of  core  values,   and  the  all  support  a  set  of  similar  services.  
  3. 3. The  whats  of  librarianship   Libraries  collect,  preserve,  organize,  and   disseminate  data,  informa,on,  and  knowledge  for   the  purposes  of  making  the  work  of  their   respec,ve  communi,es  easier.   To  one  degree  or  another,  just  about  everything  us   librarians  do  can  be  associated  with  one  of  these   processes.   These  things  are  the  whats  of  librarianship,  and   they  change  very  slowly.  
  4. 4. The  hows  of  librarianship   The  hows  of  librarianship  are  the  things  of  our   everyday  work,  our  day-­‐to-­‐day  opera,ons,  the   specific  workflows  within  each  of  our  libraries.   The  hows  of  librarianship  change  at  a  much   faster  pace,  and  these  changes  are  usually   driven  by  technology.   And,  librarians  love  lists  
  5. 5. Catalogs  are  a  good  example  
  6. 6. Journal  indexes  are  another  
  7. 7. Lists  as  indexes,  not  databases   With  the  advent  of  freely  available,  industrial   strength  indexers  –  not  databases  –  we  have   seen  an  evolu,onary  development  in  the   crea,on  of  lists.  This  is  the  work  of  the   “informa,on  retrieval”  community  whose   tools  are  mathema,cs,  and  the  epitome  of   this  community  is…    
  8. 8. “Smart”  computer  indexes   # calculate term frequency/inverse document frequency! sub tfidf {! my $n = shift; # number of times found in document! my $t = shift; # total number of words in document! my $d = shift; # total number of documents! my $h = shift; # number of hits in the corpus! my $tfidf = 0;! if ( $d == $h ) { $tfidf = ( $n / $t ) }! else { $tfidf = ( $n / $t ) * log( $d / $h ) }! return $tfidf;! }!
  9. 9. “Next-­‐genera,on”  catalogs   One  possible  future  for  libraries  lies  in  the  re-­‐ crea,on  of  our  venerable  library  catalogs,  but  I   think  this  represents  a  limited  vision…  
  10. 10. Pu]ng  content  into  context   Considering  the  current  environment,  a  more   promising  future  of  libraries  lies  in  making   content  more  useful.  Examples  include:   annotate,  compare  &  contrast,  create  flip   book,  do  concordance  against,  find  opposite,   find  similar,  highlight,  incorporate  into   syllabus,  plot  on  a  map,  print,  rate,  review,   save,  share,  summarize,  tag,  trace  cita,on,   translate,  etc.  
  11. 11. Demonstra,ons   (Psst,  Eric,  do  a  couple  of  demonstra,ons  here!)  
  12. 12. Customiza,on/personaliza,on   Pu]ng  content  into  context  is  also  a  maJer  of   understanding  who  your  customers  are,  what   they  are  trying  to  accomplish,  and  crea,ng   systems  that  seem  to  “know”  these  things.      
  13. 13. Plan  B  -­‐  Archives   A  “Plan  B”  or  another  future  of  libraries  lies  in   their  ability  to  be  more  like  archives.   This  work  falls  into  two  categories:  1)  the  work   of  “ins,tu,onal  repositories”,  and  2)  the   digi,za,on  of  “special  collec,ons”.    
  14. 14. New  ways  to  do  old  thing   If  this  is  the  case,  then  you  will  need  to  use   computer  technology  to:   1.  Decide  what  content  to  include  (collec,ons)   2.  Collect  it  (acquisi,ons)   3.  Normalize  it  (cataloging)   4.  Index  it  (systems)   5.  Provide  access  to  the  index  (public  service)  
  15. 15. Change  happens    s  l  o  o  w  l  y     Books  are  not  going  anywhere.  Journals  are  s,ll   the  medium  of  formal  scholarly   communica,on.  The  licensing  of  content  will   con,nue.  Because  of  these  things,  the  work  of   librarianship  as  it  stands  today  will  change   slowly  over  the  next  five  years.  
  16. 16. Evolu,on,  not  revolu,on   Time  and  energy  need  to  be  spent  now  in   order  for  change  to  become  a  reality,  to   discover  new,  addi,onal,  and   supplemental  roles  for  ourselves.  The   opportuni,es  are  only  limited  by  our   imagina,on  and  willingness  to  transform   them  into  reality.  
  17. 17. “Gracias”   hJp://infomo,ons.com/musings/future-­‐2015/