Down the creek and with a paddle

Shirky’s not a librarian, but I think his metaphor rings loud and true…

We’re positioned–or at least we could be–to offer some guidance down this stretch of the river, as Shirky so aptly puts it.

As opposed to a threat to traditional cataloguing practices, I see this stretch as a time when the library community should come to focus on meeting the user on his or her own turf — examining their paths and tagging habits (is anyone studying how closely popular technorati, or furl tags match up against LC subject headings for resources on the web?) and finding out how we can map, coordinate, or suggest our vocabularies and associated resources to the items that they’re looking for and finding them with — tools like Google, social bookmarking, peer2peer publishing, etc.,.

Not an easy question at all, especially for an OPAC vendor, but definitely a concept that’s well worth wrestling with.

I have no idea what it all means or where its all going — social software, folksonomies, the wiki-style wisdom of crowds — all of it.

I do feel a bit of nerdy librarian excitement though and having kayaked through a few rapids in my time (both literally and figuratively), I do feel a little twinge of pleasure with the urge to smile and whisper “hold on tight…”.

A little shaking up is never a bad thing.

Leave a Comment