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Digital librarianship - BIALL/CLSIG/SLA Europe Open Day


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A presentation delivered on 18th April 2013 at the BIALL / CLSIG / SLA Europe Graduate Trainee Open Day. Discusses the emerging role of the 'digital librarian', how I developed into this career, and what skills are required of future librarians.

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Digital librarianship - BIALL/CLSIG/SLA Europe Open Day

  1. 1. Digital librarianshipBIALL / CLSIG / SLA Europe Open DaySimon BarronProject Analyst – British Library@SimonXIX
  2. 2. 1543: the Copernican RevolutionFrom Nicolaus Copernicus’ Derevolutionibus orbiumcoelestium (1543)
  3. 3. 1859: the Darwinian RevolutionFrom Thomas Huxley’s Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature (1863)
  4. 4. 20th century:the FreudianRevolution
  5. 5. 21st century: the Digital Revolution
  6. 6. 1 exabyte= 1018 bytes= a 50,000 yearlong DVD= 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
  7. 7. 12 exabytes of data= 12,884,901,888 gigabytes= 403 million microSD cardsFrom the dawn of humanity to the creation ofcomputers:
  8. 8. 2002:5 exabytes of data= 37,000 libraries thesize of the British Library
  9. 9. From 2006 to 2010:161 exabytes to988 exabytesPercentage increase of514%
  10. 10. The digitallibrarianrises…
  11. 11. 1986 – 2009Keen amateur(but unaware of it)digital librarian
  12. 12. 2009 – 2010MA Library and InformationManagementManchester Metropolitan University
  13. 13. “A memex is a device in which an individual stores all hisbooks, records, and communications, and which ismechanized so that it may be consulted with exceedingspeed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplementto his memory.”From Vannevar Bush’s essay, AsWe May Think (1945)
  14. 14. From Paul Otlet’s Traité de documentation (1934)
  15. 15. “[Consilience is] a “jumping together” ofknowledge by the linking of facts and fact-basedtheory across disciplines to create a commongroundwork of explanation.”From: Edward O. Wilson, Consilience: the unity ofknowledge (1998).
  16. 16. 2010 –2011Assistant LibrarianArmy Foundation CollegeHarrogate
  17. 17. 2011 – 2012E-resourcesCo-ordinatorDurham UniversityLibrary
  18. 18. 2012 – PresentProject Analyst(Qatar)British Library
  19. 19. The British Library /Qatar Foundation Partnership“…to provide long-term access to digitalcopies of geographically-scatteredcollections of archives and manuscriptsrelating to the Arabic world through aportal.”
  20. 20. “…more than 500,000 pages from the archives ofthe East India Company and India Office….”“…25,000 pages ofmedieval Arabicmanuscripts…”
  21. 21. “As the great Argentinean author Jorge LuisBorges put it, “everything toucheseverything.””From: Albert-Laszlo Barabási, Linked: the newscience of networks (2003).
  22. 22. Libraries are changing…
  23. 23. “…significant inter-section between theskill sets of librarians and the skill sets ofIT professionals.”From: Mathews & Pardue, 2009. The Presence of ITSkill Sets in Librarian Position Announcements.College & research libraries, 70 (3), p. 256.72% of job ads (from ALA’s online JobListover five months) contained at least one ITskill.
  24. 24. Librarianship skillsCataloguingMetadataLicensingTechnical library services
  25. 25. IT skillsSystems developmentWeb designCodingHardware troubleshooting
  26. 26. CommunicationTeamworkRelationship managementJargontranslation
  27. 27. IntellectCuriosityThe spirit of adventure…
  28. 28. Questions?
  29. 29. “The really important kind of freedom involvesattention and awareness and discipline, andbeing able truly to care about other people andto sacrifice for them over and over in myriadpetty, unsexy ways every day.”David Foster Wallace, Kenyon College commencement speech, 2005.
  30. 30. Miscellaneous photos by Simon Barron.Qatar Programme image scans from British Library.