Daniel and Jim raise several good points. I will break from the possession obsession and move on to some other issues I think will impact the future success of government information services in our bibliographic institutions and with our communities.
And Daniel is right, this time of change and upheaval is also an opportunity to take an advantage of putting some emphasis in our message about civic engagement and librarianship(speaking as a poor citizen from Illinois who has, perhaps, experienced enough political revolution — from triumph, to tragedy and now to a pathetic comedy of ego and errors.)
Specifically — how do those of us responsible for government information in library institutions take advantage of the public’s need to figure out what is going happening out there? In the Gutenberg traditions, we did with our collections, bibliographic tools/structures, and a hard-won pragmatic expertise on helping people find information and/or knowledge to their questions.
How do we do it in a world of civic information transformed by digital technology? There are four ways we can do this, and I will discuss each (with a specific suggestion or two of how to approach the problem) over the next ten days.
1. How do we work within our professional associations. and with other advocacy groups, on how to better understand and collaborate with the public/non-governmental institutions responsible for creating and the several layers of civic information content and infrastructure?
2. How do we establish some kind of clear understanding of what our institutional role should be/might be in the preservation of the vast number of digital and tangible formats now used by these public institutions?
3. Can we agree on clear guidelines and expectations of what it means to effectively (and actively) promote the access and use of civic information within our communities?
4. In terms of education and professional knowledge — what are the essential skills, outlook, tools necessary to support a librarian who specializes in government information services?
I figure these points will keep us well occupied long after liberation day.
See you on Day 10.
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