October 15, 2006
Yet again, the number of blog posts that I have saved in Bloglines for further review is growing exponentially. Admittedly, I have taken a bit of a break from school work this week (and from blogging), since I didn’t have any assignments due this week. While I have been doing reading for class, I’ve been spending much of my time watching Jane Austen movies and goofing off. It has been wonderful. However, now it is time to get a bit more serious about academic pursuits – and to clear out my saved blog posts.
Laura Cohen wrote about Twenty Things I Want to Ask Our Users over at Library 2.0: An Academic’s Perspective. These are some great questions – and we really need to find out the answers to these questions. Without good answers to these questions, I think it might be impossible to offer the right services in order to keep libraries relevant to today’s patrons.
How Life Has Changed . . . is a post by Christopher Harris over at Infomancy. Harris discusses big changes which affect libraries that have happened over the past two years and asks how has library school curriculum has changed in relation to these new developments. While I would have to venture to guess that library school course descriptions haven’t changed much over the past two years, I would like to add that we have discussed many of the topics that Christopher details within the confines of several of my classes (MySpace, Library 2.0, the OPAC dilemma, etc.). I would have to conclude that LIS faculty are aware of these types of developments – and that is important.
Harris’ post also pointed me to Joyce Valenza’s post – Meme: “You’d better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, For the times they are a changin.’” Joyce has a great chart entitled “How life has changed since I left library school – How should practice respond.” In the post, Joyce writes: “I see an urgent need for librarians to retool. We cannot expect to assume a leadership role in information technology and instruction, we cannot claim any credibility with students, faculty, or administrators if we do not recognize and thoughtfully exploit the paradigm shift of the past two years.“ Well said!
Rory Litwin has a very important post – The real reason students like Google better than our databases- over at Library Juice. Rory looks beyond that fact that students prefer Google to ask why this is. He comes up with some interesting answers. Rory writes: “The real reason undergrads like Google is that it gives them more reading material that they are actually able to understand.” The reason is that our databases are geared to scholars working in their field rather than undergraduates. If true, what does this say about our database collections at academic libraries? Mr. Litwin suggests that databases have difficult ratings to help students determine appropriate articles. Overall, I don’t think that the reasons students use Google before turning to library resources is this simple. However, Rory brings up an important point that academic librarians need to keep in mind.
October 15, 2006
I have been mulling over a post by Dave Pollard (Do Bloggers Really Care About Their Readers? A Speculation on the Nature of Relationships) on the How to Save the World blog since it was posted on October 2nd. In the post, Dave explores relationships in the modern world. He categorizes relationships as either symmetric (“where each party to the relationship gives and receives the same benefits”) or asymmetric (“where each party gives something different, of approximately equivalent value to the other parties”). He posits that we prefer symmetric relationships because when we are in these type of relationships we can renegotiate the terms and can more easily dissolve the relationship if desired. The point here is that the blogger/reader relationship is inherently asymmetric – even “uncomfortably asymmetric.” This is because people only receive attention and appreciation from blogging.
Overall, this is a fascinating commentary about the nature of relationships – and has quite a bit of truth to it. There is some sort of bizarre feeling of validation that one gets from the knowledge that people read their blog. Attention, especially positive attention, can be extremely fulfilling. But, what do we really expect from our blogging?? I certainly began my blog as a way to document my educational experience – a way to reflect upon things that I was learning – a way to work through my thoughts. This blog has been all this and yet, it has also become so much more. I think the piece that Dave Pollard left out of this assessment of the blogger/reader relationship was one of its most important benefits – the development of community. Blogging within a community is a much more symmetric relationship because there is much more give and take. A year ago, I wouldn’t have thought the development of community was very important. However, I have learned that it really is. There is much that can be gained by becoming a part of various communities that exist in the online world. For me entering into such communities has helped to dramatically expand my educational experience – and has become the most fulfilling part of blogging.
October 15, 2006
In a recent blog post What exactly makes a systems librarian?, Corey Wallis reflects about what makes a systems librarian and what type of education would be best. Corey writes: “the big question in my mind then is obviously what course would help me in becoming the systems librarian I oughtto be.” I struggle with the same questions. Personally, I don’t think my current course of study (MLS program) will make me a better systems librarian in the practical sense. However, I do think it is providing me with valuable insights into the world of librarianship and is helping to make me more aware of library issues. This will make me a better librarian – and this is a critical piece of the puzzle I am trying to put together. So, I am looking at my MLS as part of the foundation of systems librarianship (I guess I would have to consider my 8 years of experience in library systems as the other major part of the the foundation). In my mind, this also means that the process of becoming a better systems librarian will never really be over. It is a lifelong process. Right now, I’m concentrating on my masters. However, when I am done, there will be other, more technical skills that I will need to develop. I’m not sure that I will enter another graduate program – at this point, I can feel myself getting a bit tired of school (I need to find a way to reinvigorate myself and my attitude), so I can’t stomach the thought of another formal program. But, I do think that I may find certificate programs, go to conferences, take classes on specific technical subjects, read current literature on important topics, etc. Ultimately, I very much enjoy learning, and I believe it is a key to personal growth and development. I hope never to stop – and often comfort myself with the belief that we can learn just as much from bad educational experiences as from good ones (which means every educational effort is worth something).