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Christina's LIS Rant
Monday, May 02, 2005
  Knowledge-at-work: KM in the library
(rant forthcoming...) ARGH! This post got me so mad I just had to post my response here on my rant as well as leaving it in the comments section.

DG thinks that libraries:
1) are only worried about "things" and physical collections
2) are big into inventory
3) only add value by organization

That is so... what? 70s? 80s? Never?

His ideas at improving libraries:
1) provide alerts
2) keep usage statistics
3) involve the users in the selection of materials
4) library as place

DUH! When was the last time he was in a library? Of course we do all of this.

So here's my response:
Your mythical library folk do not reflect the views or activities of most professional librarians.

We actively involve our customers (no, we don't call them patrons anymore).

We believe in the library as place (meeting rooms and group areas to support collaboration, programs and events to build networks...)

We have vibrant, customizable portals and personalized services for our customers. These include blogs, feeds, e-mail alerts, sharepoint spaces.

We are out in our communities, offering services where and when needed.

We do environmental scanning for our customers and suggest items of interest to them.

The collections are our foundation. The place we jump off *from*. Our services are what we offer.


Too strong? I do still believe in being an intermediary and I see nothing wrong with that. I guess I feel better now.
 
Comments:
Not sure you captured my drift (60's speak). Test yourself:

Your library uses collaborative filters to enhance user experience?

Your library is a wireless hub?

You can easily network via the library?

Your library supports emphemeral conversations (virtual communities, blogs, chat, VoIP, e-mail accounts, tagging vs. classification....)
 
Results of self-test:
1) collaborative filters? Yes.
2) wireless hub? Being installed within the next 30-60 days. The issue was security, and that we're in an old building so they had to run new power and new ethernet or we would have had it already
3) yes, you can easily network via the library
4) ephemeral communities -- the actual nuts and bolts are done by IT, but we support the content and use with the exception of tagging. Several libraries are working with their ILS vendors to add some sort of tagging overlay, but we aren't as of yet. In a manual sort of fashion, we ask our customers what keywords they would associate with a certain record in our portal, and we add them in a free text field -- but that's different.
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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