Look Ma, I’m on YouTube

The recording of my short talk from Access 2012, New Mean to New Ends, is finally online.

I’m amused by the list of related videos YouTube pulls in on the right side of you visit the actual video page. I don’t know if they’re customized for me, but I see half other Access talks […]

Trends

A busy library with nary a librarian in sight (taken from http://sampleandhold-r2.blogspot.com/2011/08/fixin-to-weed.html)

While preparing for a visit from Project Information Literacy’s Mike Eisenberg for the I.T. Littleton seminar at my workplace, I came across this table:

Resources Used When Course-Related Research Contexts Arise, from "Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in […]

Thomas Mann: “On the record” but off the track

Mann, T. (2008). “On the record” but off the track: a review of the report of the library of congress working group on the future of bibliographic control, with a further examination of library of congress cataloging tendencies.

Mann understates capabilities (and potential) of tags and keywords, but his conclusion that they should supplement, not replace, LCSH is well argued and probably right.  (Even if I can’t help but hear an old man complaining about that newfangled “Rock & Roll” in my head when I read him.) Continue reading Thomas Mann: “On the record” but off the track

The Changing Nature of the Catalog : A Response to Calhoun, Mann, and Yee

The Changing Nature of the Catalog – A Response to Calhoun, Mann, and Yee (PDF)

The central premise of Calhoun’s report is that technology has “created an era of discontinuous change in research libraries—a time when the cumulated assets of the past do not guarantee future success” (2006, p. 5).  Calhoun’s perspective is that this notion applies directly to traditional library cataloging.  Yee argues that traditional cataloging is fundamental to the value of libraries (2007).  Mann makes the case that research libraries’ primary mission is to serve the specific needs of serious scholarship (2006).  Each is right in their own way.  Mann and Yee, though, fail to recognize the changes that the coming of the Information Age has wrought on the world outside libraries.  Far too much valuable information is outside the reach of traditional catalogs.  Libraries must embrace technology to extend the grasp of catalogs beyond local holdings.

Continue reading The Changing Nature of the Catalog: A Response to Calhoun, Mann, and Yee

Thomas Mann: The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools. A Critical Review

Mann, T. (2006, April 3). The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools. Final Report. March 17, 2006. Prepared for the
Library of Congress by Karen Calhoun. A Critical Review
by Thomas Mann. Library of Congress Professional Guild, AFSCME, Local 2910.

Calhoun is primarily concerned with research libraries, but I believe her conclusions are more broadly applicable to all libraries, and my comments in the previous post reflect that.  Mann, though, is specifically concerned with research libraries, academia, and scholarship, so I will share his focus and mostly constrain my comments to the field of research libraries.

In the real world … the goal of any business is to make a profit–which is not the same thing as the goal of increasing market share.  … the very funding that enables research libraries to continue in operation is not dependent on market place forces to begin with. (pp.3-4).

This is a direct shot at Calhoun’s report, and at first glance it appears to strike home.  The goal of libraries obviously isn’t to make profits.  But then again, some would argue that market share is a fair measure of library performance–libraries want their base to choose them over alternative sources of information.  Businesses and libraries can have different motivations and still compete with each other.  Mann clearly disagrees though–he believes that research libraries should primarily aim to serve the small population of serious researchers.  I think Mann has a valid point of view–I don’t completely agree with his conclusions but I believe they are deserving of serious consideration.  But he is mistaken to think that libraries, research or otherwise, are free from market forces; taken to the logical extreme, a library with no users has no value.  Well before that point, a dwindling pool of users would quickly lead to reduced funding.  A death-spiral of reduced use and budget cuts could easily result.

Continue reading Thomas Mann: The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools. A Critical Review