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58 Days to Government Information Liberation

All right, I am willing to take an initial stab at trying to imagine the possible relationships between library services and those demanded by egovernment services. Is there a natural evolution of common purpose or intent? And I think Daniel’s concern about liability is a fair point, and I do believe that any sustainable blending of egovernment and government librarianship is going to have to deal with the basic question: once we supply the internet connections, the computer equipment, and the technology, what do we bring into the relationship?

I keep coming back to the wealth of ideas generated by Marshall McLuhan’s research and insight — as with this particular observation from a 1960 letter:

“In an electronic age, all that properly moves is information. The massive overlay of antecedent and existent technology takes on a peculiar characters of simultaneity in the electronic age. All technologies become simultaneous, and the new problem becomes of relevance in stress and selection, rather than commitment to any one.”

In the context of government information, this might mean that the library role in the vast spectrum of e-government services is to “stress and select” options for people among the wide array of possible information choices and service possibilities.

But this is a role that benefits very little from our long-standing library relationship with the textual literacy of a culture. Users will need to be “talked and walked” through the choices in a very deliberative way by a service provider. This kind of activity would share a common deliberative guidance we might find in our readers advisory services — but little else.

See you on Day 57.

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