Posts Tagged ‘librarianship’


“What, after all, are librarians now for?” 2

August 26, 2008

Thanks to Anna Ercoli Schnitzer for highlighting the new report from Ithaka [1], which the ACRLog is calling “essential reading for all academic librarians.”[2]

Ithaka’s 2006 studies of key stakeholders in the digital transformation in Higher education “presents some of the more interesting findings” from Ithaka’s 2000, 2003 and 2006 surveys of US universities [3].

While the role of the Library itself is decreasing in  faculty’s perceived importance, “the vast majority of faculty view the role that librarians play as just as important as it has been in the past.” [4] The surveys “tested three ‘roles’ of the library – purchaser, archive and gateway.” [5] Unsurprisingly, the purchaser role was most important – “faculty don’t want to have to pay for scholarly resources, a finding which holds across disciplines and has remained stable over time.” [6]

The gateway role has declined in importance to faculty – just over 50% scientists value this, and the report’s authors see this as “logical, given the increasing prominence of non-library discovery tools such as Google in the last several years.” [7] However, good news for cataloguers – “Despite the rising popularity of tools like Google, general purpose search engines still slightly trail the OPAC as a starting point for research.” [8]

There’s a mismatch in expectations of academics and librarians, Read the rest of this entry ?


“What, after all, are librarians now for?”

August 25, 2008

Thanks to Pamela Ben-Eliezer for pointing out Richard Horton’s opinion piece on libraries in this week’s Lancet [*] In it, he provides an entertaining tour of the library’s historical purpose as custodian of knowledge and argues that today’s medical libraries should band together to provide a global digital storehouse of scientific information.

I was particularly intrested in his description of Google as “the world’s head librarian”:

Its mission is to organise the world’s information and, where it can, to squeeze money out of that information. When the Google library project was launched in 2004, it was hailed as “revolutionary” … Critics … have argued that what will be archived will be determined by what somebody wants to sell, not by independent judgment about what matters. Smart software may replace the reflective brain. In this archival chaos, access to information might actually diminish. A past president of the American Library Association has called Google’s vision an “expensive exercise in futility”. [*]

In the Google-driven world, “The user has no mind, only a searchbox; no thought, only keywords” while “The 21st-century librarian is an expert in knowledge management and user journeys.” How depressing! Read the rest of this entry ?