Monday, 21 January 2008

Adopt and Adapt

These three words keep going around in my head at the moment. Part of me is convinced that they are the key to how information professionals need to react to the ever changing information world that is being presented to us.

I was talking about it with a colleague the other day and she asked me if there were any parallels to this in the librarian's world. At first, I stumbled, but then I realised that, as a profession, we have already tackled and successfully dealt with a number of potential obstacles. The first obvious example that springs to mind is the rise of the electronic resource - something as simple as the introduction of CD-ROMS in the early 1990s. We managed to do all of our librarian things with these new tools - catalogue, select, and most importantly - promote to the end user. The problem is, I feel, that the current challenges are being dictated by the user, rather than the librarian. Which brings us back to adopt and adapt. Any more examples of how information professionals have dealt with the introduction of new technologies? Use the comments for your answers!


Simon. said...

To show that librarians are adapting to Web 2.0 technologies I'd advocate that they actively encourage community tagging of catalogued resources by their patrons. This approach may well breathe 'new life' into what may be considered by our patrons as outdated systems (some OPACs spring to mind here)

Mark Clowes said...

Yes, absolutely - and every new tag, no matter how esoteric, enriches the library catalogue by providing additional possible routes via which users can discover information resources when they search.