Thursday, September 14, 2006

9/11 Readings

Libraries by C. Pawley

It is interesting to see how libraries have changed from simply large collections of materials, mainly for the rich and learned to places where people from all walks of life can come for their individual interests and inquiries. Librarianship has shifted from simply keeping materials to an environment of service where it is the job of librarians to make it easy to find information, as well as helping and teaching users ways of finding information. With the “explosion in publishing” and the “explosion in digital information” (she likes talking about explosions) librarians have had to shift to become organizers, as well as innovators in new ways to keep track of this information and make it easily accessible.

Libraries: Digital, Electronic, and Hybrid by D.D. Rusch-Feja

Clearly libraries are trying to find new means of storing this wealth of information that bombards us from academe, the scientific community, the private sector and many others. This is where digital libraries come in. NASA and the NSF sponsored digitization projects, and universities were awarded grants to start their own digital library functions. One question I have is the one that Chris Rusbridge addresses. He argues that “a pure digital library could not exist because of legacy collections and services…” I am not sure though. With Google scanning thousands of books and people’s love of the convenience of the internet (you can go shopping in your underwear), how much longer until the idea of an entirely digital library becomes a reality?

Tunnel Vision and Blind Spots by Wayne A. Wiegand

The figures he gave were rather amazing and showed the true scope of how far-reaching the library as an institution is. He then outlines the history of modern librarianship, and for the most part it is a proud history. One such example is librarians being champions in the fight against censorship, even though there are challenges to this like McCarthy and now illicit websites. But the main point he is trying to make in giving us all this background is that library science as a field is not introspective enough. It does not conduct enough in depth research. It does not critically analyze technology enough. It also does not pay enough attention to the user of information. The unexamined library is not worth checking books out of.

Information Science by Tefko Saracevic

This was probably my favorite article out of the four. He gives a great quote right at the start from Sir Karl Popper that says, “We are not students of some subject matter, but students of problems.” Problems are the large key in this article. When we as students or professionals in a field look at things in terms of problems to be solved it makes things much more personal and much more manageable. We study these problems and try to find solutions for real life issues not simply highfalutin theories. He breaks down different areas of information science and these areas of studies are simply problems spots, things that we need to work on. He also shows the split between library science and information science. He tells us that there are different problems that each field deal with as well as different ways of dealing with them. Each specific academic realm has their own problems and it is these problems that define them.

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