37 thoughts on “Open Thread Thursday: OBEY

  1. Why do libraries in general NOT ride the wave of technology? Why do we continue to allow the MLIS to ignore the fact that technology is replacing libraries, and teach nearly nothing in relation? Would it hurt to teach some basic programming languages or network security or database administration? I think not, and if libraries want to continue to survive as institutions and preserve their value, then this needs to change.

    Oh, and y’all are making me hungry with your Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits & Red Velvet Cake!

    • I’m curious as to why you say “replace” and not “supplement”. I have yet to see a serious situation where the library was replaced by a computer or machine.

    • I learned basic programming and a little bit of database administration, the class has now changed:

      This course introduces students to key concepts in Web Technologies (xHTML, CSS), Web Programming (JavaScript, PHP, Python) and Data Management (XML, MySQL). http://tinyurl.com/4otwhbf

      These changes were made because students thought the class was a joke, the first half of the semester was spent on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. This class is a starting point for people who want to go more for technology based classes.

    • I think the inclusion of programming/tech depends on the student/program. In my opinion more SIS are integrating tech courses into their requirements.

      The introduction to tech class had us complete projects using HTML/XML/CSS as well as research the use of technology and social media in libraries. The SIS I graduated from also has a Digital Libraries track and Information Architecture is a popular course for those both inside and outside the track who want to learn advanced methods. I also took digital preservation and utilize web 2.0 tech in instruction/reference. I’m glad I had the chance to learn tech skills, since several job openings I’ve applied for have a tech component.

  2. Let’s brainstorm best ways to give Overdrive some competition.

    I’ll start: a few of us pool resources and start a different company.

    • There is a significant lack of competition within various areas where vendors come in, ebooks being one of them. Although, that’s just my impression and not so much a complete accounting of the facts.

      Anyone have input?

  3. Open thread = my rant for the day.

    There has been SO. MUCH. TALK. about technology training in library school, and while that is so great and wonderful and necessary for some jobs, it is not necessary for mine.

    I’m a solo hospital librarian working at a not-for-profit, community-based, teaching hospital. My main users are residents and attending physicians, but I also work with nurses, pharmacists, and administration. I spend my days doing literature searches, finding and sending articles, maintaining my collection, helping out with research and grant writing, and teaching instruction classes. I do classic library work. My job description and my actual duties (as they sometimes – er, always – differ) have nothing to do with programming, web design (in fact I’m not even allowed to touch the website), or anything tech related past putting paper in the copier and turning on and off my computer.

    If I had been required to take a lot of technology classes for my MLIS, I would have of course done so and probably been a more well-rounded librarian, but at this point in my career it would have been a complete waste of time. I may need it for a future job, but let’s face it, by the time I move on, things will have already changed so much that what I learned in school would be useless.

    The skills I need for my job are good reference skills, cataloging/indexing (although most of what I do is copy cataloging, knowing how NLM indexes articles for PubMed is so helpful), and customer service skills.

    Which actually brings me a really great point and now that this is getting really long, I think I’ll just go finish up my rant on my own blog. 🙂

    You can read the rest of the post here: http://theunemployedlibrarian.blogspot.com/2011/02/thursday-library-rant.html

    • I’m glad you posted this. I too am unsettled when I hear it suggested that we need to be focusing so much more of our time on tech training. My MLIS program does offer classes on XML, PHP, Web 2.0, APIs, etc. but I for one am focusing my coursework on reference work, information literacy and teaching critical thinking, resources for specific users, with some metadata thrown in. Am I sabotaging my future career by ignoring these techie courses? Maybe. But I personally want to be “on the floor” talking with patrons, working with students, and generally being present with people, not code. Tech is a tool that helps me get my job done, and I try to resist the impulse to spend more time with the tool than with the people its meant to serve.

      This is not to say that we don’t need more coders in libraries. We do. We need people who understand the needs of our patrons and who can develop applications with those needs in mind. But let’s stop saying that everyone needs to be riding the wave. There are MANY libraries of all types doing great things with tech, but that doesn’t mean every library should.

      • Glad to know you feel the same way, John. I think you made some excellent points that I couldn’t seem to articulate, especially “Tech is a tool that helps me get my job done, and I try to resist the impulse to spend more time with the tool than with the people its meant to serve”. That’s exactly the point I was attempting make.

        I think I got side tracked. Big surprise. 🙂

      • I think the point is less that every librarian need to be coder and more that the profession as a whole needs more programmers. I also think that that in addition to raising the ceiling, we also need to raise the floor–if tech is a tool a public-oriented librarian uses every day, I’d like to see her more comfortable, articulate, and critical in how she approaches technology. Lastly, the changes and innovations in our field in the coming years will mostly have to do with technology. If you as an individual want a voice in how those changes are made, you need to be versed in how that technology works.

  4. i feel like i imagined a post you wrote last week about chinese food and reading space operas which i really enjoyed. can you atleast tell me if it really existed even it if you took it down for a reason?

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention Open Thread Thursday: OBEY « Agnostic, Maybe -- Topsy.com

  6. I so agree with Steve L. The semantic web is coming and it WILL impact how users interact with technology – including our resources. It will impact how we search and find articles. How we catalog (RDA). It will impact everything information related eventually. Our phones, our tablets, our databases, everything.

    So, when your patron (doctor, undergrad, faculty, whoever) comes to you with a citation on their phone and they want to get the fulltext article sent to their phone are you going to be able to help? When they want to subscribe to a journal on their Kindle, will you know how to help?

    When they want to search google scholar for an article or search for creative commons licensed images, will you know how to help?

    The more a library workers knows about technology the better they will be able to help their patrons.

  7. Hm. Going to see Shepard Fairey at my public library next week. True story.
    Not even related to the conversation evolving above, this is what I thought of when I saw the image above: I love ALA, and, full disclosure, am the student chapter co-president at my university. However, I wish that, as libraries evolve and change, and, as a result, a new wave of librarians enter the profession, we could get ALA to advocate as much for librarians as they do for libraries. Librarians need some serious profession PR, nation-wide. What are our institutions without us?

    • ALA does lobby on behalf of library issues. They maintain a Washington office for that purpose. I think of the ALA as being like the FBI in regards to jurisdiction; they don’t enforce local or state laws but handle the cases that are national in scope. They leave it up to the local lib associations to handle the smaller battles.

      Personally, I’m not a fan of a majority of librarian image PR that is currently out there. I’m still waiting for something that really jumps out at me and goes, “That rocks!”

  8. Oops. Maybe I wasn’t clear: I’m aware of ALA’s advocacy for libraries, but I worry they don’t do enough for librarians. I like the FBI analogy; do you think a national campaign for librarianship could be effective? Or is it something we have to handle on our own, within our own communities?

  9. A national marketing campaign for librarians and libraries! Americans are used to be sold crap…..this is the American language: marketing and advertising. I think we need a national campaign that ties libraries with democracy and with new technology (the Boston Library Campaign is fun). We need to make libraries “cool” simply by how we position them in the eyes of the potential users. The campaign could be hip and funny and emphasize how you can get so much for free at a library that you would be paying for at Barnes and Noble and with SERVICE too! We don’t need to win over the old folks….they are smart and know how much a library has to offer. We need to win over the digital natives and reintroduce them to what libraries are today

    Please….would you honestly trust something as important as the future of libraries in the hands of some of our local librarians? I can only speak from my corner annoyed, peeved, librarian and I would not trust her to convince me that I needed water on a hot day

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