Please, anyone who wishes to comment on the report, consider doing so
directly. Please do not rely on remarks made on discussion lists or blogs
to be picked up. I know that some of the comments that people might make on
discussion lists, or on their blogs may not be suitable or "ready" for
formal comment to the Working Group, but some may, and might thus be of
considerable interest to the Group, and might lead to changes being made in
the final report. (Of course, for all I know, Diane Hillmann, whose message sparked this response, either has done so, or
is planning to do so. But so far the WG hasn't had any submitted comments on
the draft distributed to them. I hope that you do submit them, though,
because they are right on point).
But what this posting has done for me is push a magic button that has
nothing to do with the Working Group report itself. So please forgive the
gentle tirade. Some of the recommendations that Diane has commented on in section 5. STRENGTHEN THE LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE PROFESSION below are of "peculiar" interest to me, because -- we as a discipline seem
not to be well enough inculcated with an understanding that an important way
that the discipline advances is through investigation, collaboration,
research and PUBLICATION. We do little experiments locally and don't turn
them into papers. We do investigations locally, and put them up as
"whitepapers" or reports on our own websites or blogs. We consign our work
and thoughts to the Internet equivalent of "grey literature". We give
little presentations at conferences and don't formalize them into written
papers. They are not indexed (unless they get picked up somehow in Google).
They may never have been recorded/preserved in any way. And so, the value
that any of these efforts might have released to the profession is severely
There's a kind of narcissism in habitually restricting access to your work
and thoughts to only those who frequent your (generic you) blog or wiki, or
who participate in the discussion lists you are on, or who think to check
your website. I'm sure that those who generously mount and maintain blogs
don't view it that way. They think that they are, in fact, communicating
extremely broadly. And, for that matter, they are. But it's a different
kind of communication with a different kind of purpose.
Please, dear educators, as you are shepherding students through their
professional degrees, don't let them escape without an understanding of the
importance of formal communication; of the importance of sharing their work.
And don't let them escape without some inkling that it's not enough to KNOW
about the work, or to KNOW HOW to do it. They also have to THINK about it,
analyze, investigate, and CONTRIBUTE to the formal literature. We really
can't afford to be making decisions about the future of any aspect of
librarianship by "gut instinct". We need real information.
(And by the way, the need to do formal investigation and communication and publication is NOT restricted to academic librarianship. Don't let the people who think they are headed for public, school, or special libraries off the hook)
<rant mode off>
Janet Swan Hill, Professor
Associate Director for Technical Services
University of Colorado Libraries, CB184
Boulder, CO 80309
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Tradition is the handing-on of Fire, and not the worship of Ashes.
- Gustav Mahler