Monday, March 13, 2006

Carnival of the Infosciences #28

Welcome, gentle-beings, children of all ages, to the Carnival of the Infoscienes #28!

When I started reading the submissions this week (from Anali's submission that came in as soon as I posted the call, to Steve's "just in time" submission), I thought that there wasn't a theme this week. But as I read and re-read the posts, I realized that there is a theme, and it's a theme that has been fairly common in the last couple of years: exploring the potential of libraries and librarians.

Anali posted at Grumpator "Arizona Convocation 2006", a summary of their state library's annual gathering. George Needham (OCLC and It's All Good) was the keynote speaker. One afternoon was spent on Water Resources, when Anali discovered that, "I hadn't considered what kind of impact I could make in community awareness as a librarian."

Lately, Charlton of ReferenceWork has had more requests from community groups. This is great for a lot of reasons, including #5, "Shatter stereotypes about the library (I had a group that was surprised that a guy could be a librarian)".

Chad at Library Voice, speaks to way the world is becoming flat, with technology, specifically IM and email reference, blurring the boundaries of our service communities. I find the email quoted at the end personally evocative, because one of the very first IM's I got when I set up my contact links was another librarian exploring the idea of IM reference. I couldn't tell her much, but we had a great conversation. (I think she was in the UK.)

Christina (Christina's LIS Rant) is back reading about ASK (Anomalous States of Knowledge). I'm going to track down N. J. Belkin's 1980 paper for myself (I'll have to ILL it, we've only got a couple of years of the Canadian Journal of Information Science.) Christina, you've hit it right on the head, again. It's been 26 years since this paper was published and the problem laid out cleanly, and we still search for "what the text representation looks like, not based on what shape the users are in, how well they know what they need and can convey what they need."

Steve (See Also...) writes about the read/write web in academe. The read/write web, a.k.a Web 2.0, in which people actively create their information environment and resources by assembling and manipulating content, is a fact, folks, and we need to learn how to deal with it. Of course, we are still, as a community, trying to learn to deal with the Internet at all ("Google is the death of libraries...or books...or publishers..." articles and instructors who tell students, "No web pages" without mentioning that the library databases are on the web, too--please specify if the assignment is in part to teach about print resources, or if you just didn't want random, unevaluated web pages.)

Editor's Picks:
From my inbox this morning: Inside HigherEd reports that one football coach is worth 3 reference librarians (on a salary report from the
College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

Paul, the Distant Librarian, writes about a new Skype add-on, Unyte. Finally, a co-browsing tool that doesn't require the person at the other end to download something (and isn't a horribly expensive virtual reference system.) As soon as I'm at my desk for more than a few minutes, I'm going to try this out!

Mark, over at ...the thoughts are broken..., has a great rant about generations and library literature. Mark, maybe you feel that you shouldn't have written it, but it's true. There may be some valid generational differences, but bland generalizations don't help, and we are all librarians, so we have more in common than the article would lead us to believe. I've always wondered how much of the "generational" stereotypes are less because of what generation we are, than where we fit into the structure of society. When I was in grad school, Gen-X'ers, like me, were supposed to be independent and less likely to try and invoke "the system" to fix things, while Baby Boomers were all for organizational change. Well, maybe that was because the Baby Boomers, having years of work experience in "the system", were better able to use it, while we Gen-X'ers were unpracticed at selling our ideas to anyone but each other? Well, maybe the book that Meredith is raving about will have an answer.

There was a lot of good reading this week, but I'll end on a (mostly) humorous note: read Jessamyn's take on how to lose your techies, and Nuns face off against a spelling bee (an AP link, I'm not sure how long it will last, so here is LISNews' report on the outcome.)

Ooops, almost forgot the "stay tuned for next week's exciting episode" part! Next week the Carnival will move to Steve Lawson's See Also... See the Call for Submissions for details. (And the week after, the Carnival goes home to Open Stacks!)


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