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EDUCAT  December 2007

EDUCAT December 2007

Subject:

Re: Commenting on the LC WG Report; and publication in general

From:

"Diane I. Hillmann" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata education & training <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 5 Dec 2007 16:33:27 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (130 lines)

Janet:

I'm presenting primping up my comments to submit them formally, so 
don't worry, you'll get to see them again.  I forwarded this bit to 
this particular list at the suggestion of another member (though it 
took a bit of doing--this list doesn't accept anything over 200 
lines).  I did it to try and spark some discussion, rather than as an 
alternative to sending something in to the working group.

As someone who has done some formal publication and some informal 
publication, I have to say I'm a bit more ambivalent about the use of 
formal publication as a venue for communication on the important 
issues we're discussing now.  I don't have a blog of my own at the 
moment, but do publish sometimes on the LITA blog.  Most of my 
"formal" papers have been submitted to conferences, mostly the DC 
conferences (which currently do a bloody awful job of exposing them 
for indexing, but hopefully that will change soon).  And I publish a 
bimonthly column in Technicalities (which I know you've seen, since 
you publish one there, too).  I occasionally do other kind of 
articles in the kind of "regular" journals I suspect you're thinking, 
but I recently decided that I was going to stop doing that--for 
someone like me, who doesn't need to worry about tenure or promotion, 
and is far too impatient to wait for 18 months to 2 years for 
something to be formally published, it was the only sensible thing to 
do.

Aside from the publication delays, I don't like the access 
restrictions on my work that these journals impose.  For those of us 
in academe, getting at these publications is dead easy, but for many 
of the other people I want to communicate with, getting at this stuff 
is either difficult or impossible. My world is no longer primarily 
other academic librarians, and while I'd have to keep publishing in 
those publications if I were concerned about creating a publication 
record to support a tenure decision, I'm past that now. My primary 
concerns are getting in on a conversation before it's too late to 
have an impact, and making sure that what I say is targeted at the 
people I want to hear it (or it gets blogged, discussed in other 
venues, or whatever).  I archive my papers, columns and most 
presentations on Cornell's IR, and that seems to overcome some of the 
gaps in other distribution mechanisms I use.

So I'd say--sure, write it up, make sure it's deposited somewhere 
other people can find it and read it, and if you need to do "dead 
tree publishing" for other reasons, go for that, too.  There are 
these days a lot of ways to "share our work" and formal publication 
is no longer the only way, or, in some cases the best way to 
communicate.

Diane
(contrarian as always)



>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
>limited.  
>
>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
>
>
>Janet Swan Hill, Professor
>Associate Director for Technical Services
>University of Colorado Libraries, CB184
>Boulder, CO 80309
>[log in to unmask]
>      *****
>Tradition is the handing-on of Fire, and not the worship of Ashes.
>- Gustav Mahler


-- 
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Diane I. Hillmann
Research Librarian
Cornell University Library
Email: [log in to unmask]
Voice: (607) 387-9207
Skype: dihillmann
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

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