Update to Digital Librarianship & Social Media: the Digital Library as Conversation Facilitator

I had made a note about going back and having more of a look at this article, so I did.

Schrier makes the point in paragraph 3 that librarians should engage in conversation through blogs and other social media tools in order to ‘ place the digital librarians back in the center as chief negotiators of the knowledge creation and education that occurs as a result of user-user and user-library interactions. The point about being negotiators of knowledge creation is one that I see as an important role for librarians or those involved in a similar role in the workplace. One of the key benefits of Web 2.0 is that the collective intelligence of those who use it can be harnessed to provide a vast pool of knowledge to draw from.  In today’s society where information is a commodity being able to access the right information quickly is very valuable. Unfortunately I have heard many stories about information in organisations being difficult to access if staff are even aware of its existence in the first place. In a conversation with a librarian at work we were discussing what would become of the librarian as less people borrowed books. Schrier’s article has relevance in a situation like this because he talks about the librarian’s role in knowledge creation. I can see that librarians are well placed to be able to create knowledge in organisations by being knowledge brokers and being able to connect people with the information they want when they need it. Even with Enterprise Social Networks being able to provide an environment where sharing of corporate knowledge is easier, I think the success of such a network can be further enhanced by having people who can facilitate connections between people and information.

I think about my workplace, and I still come across repositories of information by chance that are relevant to my work but I have never come across when doing a search for this type of information. I wonder how more effective we could be as an organisation if we had people who could connect people like myself with information that I was after. I read somewhere (not exactly sure where) about a librarian who was able to assist someone with an information enquiry by chance as they happened to see the tweet from the person asking if anyone knew how to reference a certain item. I can see savings in time and effort could be gained if there was a way to speed up access to the relevant information. Schrier makes this point on the section on participation where he talks about libraries needing social media plans which will establish the library as an ‘arbiter of information’.  I imagine that there are already organisations out there that are drawing on the expertise of librarians and information professionals to improve information sharing.


~ by dassocmed on September 18, 2012.

2 Responses to “Update to Digital Librarianship & Social Media: the Digital Library as Conversation Facilitator”

  1. Uh oh I’m going to disagree again – I hope the prospect is not disagreeable to you 😛 . Do let me know if so and I’ll desist 🙂

    I agree that librarians should engage in conversations in blogs. However I disagree with the rationale. Librarians have never been the ” the center as chief negotiators of the knowledge creation and education”; so a return is not possible – let alone the fact that getting there at all, whether librarians have been there before – is ridiculously unlikely. There is no center. Library usage is rarely social except at the most abstract sense between the creator and consumer.

    For me the rationale is that librarians, as somewhat (some more some less) knowledgeable members of society, have both as much right and as much responsibility as other members of society to contribute constructively to broader social conversations for the betterment of their communities.

    Thanks for the opportunity to think that through. I could do similarly with the notion of librarian as information broker – admitting that yes it would be nice to have just the right information to hand when needed – but I would dispute that it is ever realistic to pay someone to be clairvoyant regarding information.

    Chance is indeed a delightful blessing – it has frequently helped me help my clients.

    • Mica, I don’t see your comments as disagreeable. They are an alternative view to the one I propose. Given I am not a librarian my comments are definitely only a view. I was engaging in a bit of disruptive thinking (seems to be the bullsh@t bingo term of the week) about the future of libraries.

      From an outsider’s perspective I do wonder what the future of the library holds as we seem to be getting more and more of our information from the Web. I know our work library is cutting back on hard copy books and journals and utilising electronic offerings in greater numbers. They are also under the microscope when it comes to funding cut-backs as they need to justify more of their purchases. The cynic in me can’t help but wonder how far away it is before some bean-counter starts asking questions about ROI and we see some libraries close as a result.

      Indulging my disruptive thinking, I still think that there is a role for the librarian as an information broker in organisations. I was reading the Brisbane Times article that Kristina had posted the link to, on our subject’s FaceBook page. There is a reply by Library Lover to J.G in which Library Lover talks about finding information for clients that they don’t have time to find. This is very much the type of role I was thinking of when I was talking about the information broker. More information is being created but for those of us who are not information professionals, I don’t think our ways of accessing and analysing information is changing to cope with the increased volume. We need someone who can advise us on what the better resources are, and I think librarians would be well suited to this.

      As a librarian, where do you see the future of the library/librarian heading?

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