Great article from The Kept-Up Academic Librarian site – http://bit.ly/ajIrRM – they have the link to the full article there.
It discusses the ever changing role of the librarian. I think this is good, this needs to be addressed about how and what purpose the library will serve. It’s not a bad thing at all, libraries need to be thinking and looking at new ways of engaging their patrons and using the resources they have to get usage out of the content they own. The one area, just a little one I worry about is the google mentality, it scares me a little, ok. The reason being that giving any one company that much content and expecting something not to happen… well, that’s just wishful thinking. There are so many things that could go wrong or really get screwed up, that i think we need to really assess this, too much faith being put in one source to house so much literary, historical content… just a little nervous is all.
The article does some great things for librarians, reaffirming them that they have a role still and that they should embrace it and run like crazy to tout it, I agree. Librarians have a great responsibility in this digital age, use the tools they have to get the content they own out there, but make sure it’s reliable resources and that you still own your content. Now for Harvard to discuss this, great on their part, but what is Harvard really going to do about it? They have at last count, 90+ libraries.. depending on how you count them. They have multiple subscriptions to the same database across multiple libraries, hence, mltp licenses. For a library of their reputation, it worries me about what their collection development will be. They addressed this last fall, came back with recommendations that said to do collaborative collection development and reassess licenses and such, but will they? I’ve been to Harvard, sat down and discussed the path the library was considering taking.. it was a short conversation where not much was really learned, except that they had to fix their decentralized system. To do this I offered some suggestions; collaborative collection development, improve the workflow for print and eBooks which at the time they weren’t doing much with, at least not on the aggregator side and not much on the direct publisher side of eBooks.
It isn’t that Harvard is full of issues, rather being as large as they are, it’s like giving an island water wings, it’ll take a while. I still wonder though, in the is age of Digital Content, is google the answer? Do librarians still worry about wikipedia and other discovery tools that also may or may not have authoritative content in them? From what I have heard, yeah, they do… but how to combat that, education.We need to show them the other sources out there, where they can connect multiple sources, work together for collection development and also improve the workflow for their print and eBooks to be acquired and developed as one; it can be done, it is being done.
So tell me, am I crazy, am I the only one in my own boat rolling in a circle thinking that there are genuine concerns with the state of google acquiring this content? Am I wrong that the google mentality is one to be concerned with that we associate so much with them that we forget about the other resources out there? I fear that if this continues, then you will have admin asking what do I need a librarian for? Well, how about making informed decisions based on education, knowledge and the fact that it’s their job to develop that collection; it takes a skill set, understanding and knowledge of what a library’s purpose is.. that’s changing, but the librarian is still needed.