Big Discussion

Big discussion about the future of libraries over on Make.  I find this somewhat unusual, because I haven’t often witnessed this debate happening outside the library professional community.  It’s actually the continuation of a discussion started on the site the week before, where the author suggested that libraries should be replaced by tech workshops.  You know, because libraries are obsolete in the digital age.  That first article was horrible.  The author stated openly that he never goes to the library, and asserted that most people don’t either.  And his ignorance showed.  Nearly every comment was opposed to his idea, but when presented with valid criticisms, the author’s only response was, “So what’s your idea?”

The more recent article is somewhat more balanced.  Yet, while stating that he’s just trying to stimulate dialog, the author seems completely unaware that this dialog has been going on amongst library professionals for a long, long, time.

The whole gist of the discussion is that, as a segment of the library using community, (potentially, I guess, since the author doesn’t use the library) the maker community (as represented by the author) thinks the library should do a better job of meeting its needs.  That’s all well and good, right?  That’s one of the things libraries do, meet the information needs of the community.  The question that isn’t addressed is why the needs of the maker community should take precedence over the needs of the segments of the community that currently ARE using the library.  It sounds to me as if the author thinks his community is THE community.  Once again, it shows his lack of understanding of what libraries are for and what they do.

Many of his commenters suggested that type of community space he’s seeking would fit better in a community center,or a separate add-on to a library building, mainly because of the logistics around band saws and study carrels sharing the same space.  Another suggestion was to re-introduce shop class to public schools.  I agree that both options, community centers and shop classes, are better spaces for the type of innovation the author hopes to foster in the community.

Because ultimately, it sounds like his argument is that libraries favor one type of innovation/information/learning style over the one that he prefers.  But there isn’t any reason why libraries shouldn’t favor one style over another. Libraries foster the exploration of language-based information.   As the exploration of information evolves beyond the written or even spoken word, it’s all that more important that libraries remain spaces that preserve language-based information, while other spaces evolve elsewhere.  Of course, these other spaces will also compete for funding.

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Site Monitoring Project

Overall, I have to say I’m disappointed with the frequency (or lack thereof) of updating by the sources I chose to monitor.  Library Tech Talk hasn’t updated again since the Bibliobouts post.  Library Technology Guides updated once between Jan. 27th and March 17th.  The site did update twice on March 17th, however.

The quality of content on Library Tech Talk is excellent, which makes it all the more frustrating that updates are so infrequent.  A number of useful, interesting, innovative, and unknown (to me, anyway) applications are introduced which could be of great use in a library setting.  Unfortunately, all the posts for the last nine months fit on one page.

The content on Library Technology Guides hasn’t been as useful.  As I said in a previous post, content on this site consists mainly of press releases announcing business partnerships.  The last two posts on the 17th were somewhat higher quality.  Although the most recent of those could still fall into the press release category, the announcement of the site administrator’s speaking engagements at the Computers in Libraries Conference gave an eye-opening look into the conference’s scope.  Considering only the topics that Library Technology Guides “maintainer”  Marshall Breeding is speaking on, they seem (from my first year lib. tech student perspective) to cover a wide range, including: Seamless Websites and Expanded Presence; Learning from Inspirational Libraries; Current OPACs and Next-Gen Systems; Technology and Applications; and Dead & Innovative Tech.  Dude must know his stuff.  Imagine if he, you know, wrote a blog or something!

The post previous to that promoted his article in the Smart Libraries Newsletter.  The newsletter requires a subscription, but usually makes an article available for free.  You can read it here: “Building Comprehensive Resource Discovery Platforms.”  He talks about the need for content providers and publishers to include their content in “discovery system indexes”  (basically, research databases, as far as I can figure out).  Makes sense, right?  What struck me was his proposed solution to publishers’ reluctance to do so:

In the same way that libraries routinely require license terms for providers of content products support practices such as COUNTER statistics for measuring the use of materials, SUSHI for automatically delivering those statistics, or OpenURL for linking, it would likewise be reasonable for libraries to introduce requirements that vendors make content available to the discovery services provider of their choice for the sole purpose of indexing. Although there seems to be a broader acceptance of content providers to work with discovery systems, making it part of the license terms will help close the gap on the content not currently supported in this important genre of library software. (Emphasis mine.)

Hang on, what was that?  Libraries routinely require license terms from publishers they deal with?  Because with all the fracas over HarperCollins’ 26 loan cap on eBooks, and the debate that’s been going on in the blogosphere ad nauseam, I kind of got the impression that libraries’ hands are tied on the matter, without boycotts and protests to rival those ongoing in Wisconsin anyway.  I guess I need to go remove a few blogs from my RSS feed.

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Delicious Web/Library 2.0 Project

What I found on Delicious about Web/Library 2.0 was a whole lot of debate.  (Truth be told, that was exactly what I was looking for.)  I learned that, while there are undoubtedly many people who feel that Web 2.0 has a great deal of value for library purposes, there are just as many who don’t.  I think that debate is healthy, and helps me to take all the excited hype about Web 2.0 much more seriously.

Something I found intriguing was one page that had bunch widgets for applications I hadn’t been aware of before.  Of those, the most unique, I thought, was a site that allows kids to make their own online presentations from their artwork and voice recordings.

Little Bird Tales

Using Delicious was relatively easy, using tags for the subject I wanted to research.  I don’t think I would have found such interesting and relevant sites using a search engine alone.  I might continue to use Delicious for research, however, I don’t see myself bookmarking sites there myself.  I prefer to keep my favorite links in the sidebar on my blog.  They seem more permanent there, somehow, and I don’t have to remember to go to some other site in order to be reminded of my links.

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Who owns cultural property?

Copied and pasted directly from the link:

Museums and Cultural Property Forum

When: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | 01:30 PM-03:00 PM
Where: University Library – Lilly Auditorium

This forum will explore current issues in the museum field related to the ownership and display of antiquities and other cultural property.  IUPUI Museum Studies graduate students will pose questions to Dr. James Cuno, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Dr. Maxwell Anderson, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions and to join the discussion.

Registering for Events

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Some good stuff for me!

I start volunteering at the local public library next week.  Tues. and Thurs. from 9-11.  I think it will be fun.  I’m looking forward to it.

I also got all the paperwork submitted for a possible internship this summer at the Library of Congress.  I may not have enough education or experience yet.  But if that’s the case, I’ll just try again next year.  My fingers are crossed!

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