Aargh

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at ic.ac.uk
Mon Nov 5 13:01:36 EST 2001


Georgia wrote:

>I thought there were lots of technologically trained librarians? There
>certainly seem to be a lot of sites called things like "Library Geek"
>(http://librarygeek.blogspot.com/) out there, and very interesting they are
>too. I wd imagine that workplace libraries are feeling the effect of
>electronic publications much more than public libraries 

> In that sort of situation it's hard to
>see that management who notice this are wrong in believing that librarians'
>roles are changing, though of course if it's just an excuse for
cost-cutting
>wch results in losing skilled people that's lamentable.

>Do we have any librarians on the list who cd comment more authoritatively
>about whether/how their roles are changing?

Well, my job is pretty technological (see my signature!) (What I actually do
is mostly registering and checking access to electronic journals
(e-journals) and making a database of electronic resource licenses.) I did
an MA in librarianship a couple of years ago, and I can say that people
training now can't avoid learning about using e-resources- it's simply part
of the course. I worked in a subject library before I started this job, and
about half of the questions I was asked were about e-journals- so if I
hadn't known I would have had to learn.

There is quite a lot of debate within the profession ATM about how our roles
are/will change as e-stuff grows. At the moment we seem to still be doing
all the old jobs, and taking on new challenges as well. It's hard to say if
that will change; if, say, all books become electronic, might the profession
split into archivists and cybersearchers? Or would there still be a core set
of "Library" skills? (Sorry for management-speak; it's quite difficult to
talk about this without it.)

Many university libraries and computing services are merging, (anecdotally,
computing people have a harder time with this than librarians- they don't
just have to learn new stuff, they have to change their culture to being
customer-focussed rather than technical-focussed). Many librarians are
taking on more teaching roles. I don't know that much about the changes in
special libraries or public libraries. Librarians of all kinds are typically
undervalued and underpaid, so we are hoping that we can sieze the day, show
how skilled we are at dredging meaning out of the e-swamp and become
indispensable.
Jennifer
************************
Electronic Journals Assistant
Technical Services
Central Library
Imperial College
London
SW7 2AZ 
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