Back in my first term of the program, I was enrolled in Professor Liu’s Digital Libraries seminar. Truthfully, the course was my third and last choice. The idea was to take a light, early start course to ease into the program. Instead, I wound up taking a survey course with nearly zero background in librarianship. How glad I am that things worked out that way because the course served as a bridge between a rapidly evolving aspect of librarianship that I, as a patron have only just begun to witness and participate in, and that I now realize is foundational to the understanding of current trends in information pedagogy and professions. It also illustrated the sea change that occurred as libraries began to adopt digital strategies with a closer eye to emerging technologies.
Two of the main themes from that course were iteration and the power of participatory library services, both of which form a pillar of the Hyperlinked library.
Iteration occurs in information currency in terms of repetition and versioning—incremental modification of knowledge, be it documents, software or apps, policy, even in terms of the physical editions of books. Information is constantly evolving and although Library 1.0 made fine work of the task of collection and knowledge development tied to physical assets, that model is perhaps most closely tied to format rather than process. All three of our foundational readings emphasize the need for both short and long term thinking and made cases for effecting incremental change within library organizations so as not to cause a shock to the system.
Michael Casey and Laura Savastinuk’s Library 2.0 describes a new model of the library based on the iterative in which the information organization engages in a “continual process of reviewing and updating services” (2007, p. 13) and a successful information organization “builds cycles of change into their organization structure” (2007, p. 38).
Michael Buckland describes a similar, ongoing process of updates to the information organization based on three assumptions: (1) the value of near-medium term strategic planning (2) one hand on existing technology with another stretched toward emerging technologies and; (3) the value of consulting and utilizing experience (1992, p. 8). Those assumptions can be distilled into the notion of tempered change. Change WILL occur but growing pains can be mitigated through a process of circumspect, gradual, and constant reevaluation and implementation.
The second major theme, the participatory library, is particularly relevant not just to our readings, but to the format of this course. This very blog entry is an exercise in the participatory. We contribute our individual learnings to a communal source of information. Similarly, Library 2.0, Think Like a Startup, and Redesigning Library Services contain observations and projections about the trend toward the participatory. Buckland frequently refers to the transition from closed to open stacks—the self-service model and its effect on contemporary library services. Casey and Savastinuk base their definition of Library 2.0 on a user-centric library model, achieved in large part by soliciting and promoting user participation.
We create information. Experts. Lay people. Fans. Naysayers. The creation and dissemination of information is not solely the purview of experts. Every day people create information and are increasingly empowered to do so through technology and constant innovation. This requires participation. Further, it requires iteration. We suggest, edit, rewrite and contemplate. That is iteration and it is perhaps best served by maximum participation. Thus, with an eye toward iteration and participation, library services are becoming increasingly flexible through incremental change and by expanding participation at all levels.
Buckland, M. K., Gorman, M., & Gorman, M. (1992). Redesigning library services: A manifesto American library association Chicago, IL.
Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service Information Today, Inc.
Mathews, B. (2012). Think like a startup: A white paper to inspire library entrepreneurialism.