This journal article looks at the impact that technology has had on higher education on two fronts, firstly how it is the main cause of change and in turn how it is the main tool for dealing with change. In order to deal with this change, knowledge management is looked at as a possible way of fully utilising technology in the education sector. In order for universities to fully incorporate an ever changing digital world it needs clear guidance so that organizational and inter-organizational processes for managing innovation and change in the long run have a stable foundation. Thereby shaping the university into an organization that learns and manages knowledge. An interesting topic that is brought up is that of “Communities of practice” and how they are an integral part of KM. The journal provides a framework of extensive research detailing potential models in an effort to create a suitable model for universities. By looking at a system which is alternative to a business or non-profit organisation this study provides a different prospective but reaches many of the same conclusions. By doing so it strengthens the importance of knowledge management in the digital age. This study highlights the importance of sharing information when striving to improve what has gone before it.
Shoham, S., Perry, M. (2009) “Knowledge management as a mechanism for technological and organizational change management in Israeli universities.” (Electronic Version) Higher Education, Vol. 57 Issue: 2, pp. 227-246.
The idea of preservation is a difficult one. Something that does not seem to be touched on in the readings I have done so far is what should be preserved. There seems to be a push to preserve everything that is produced nowadays or at least that’s the way the readings lay it out. I am not going to try answer that question but I don’t think for example preserving old websites is important and I’m sure I could cut a lot more if pushed. Considering I’m a bit of a hoarder that says a lot. As a side note I would like to acknowledge it is difficult to say what seems unimportant today may be considered crucially important tomorrow.
I’m going get away from what should be and what shouldn’t be and to focus solely on how difficult it is to preserve things. Digitisation of items is a huge leap forward and gives the possibility of not only storing things but the possibility of dissemination as well. The “White Paper” ran through the different processes of doing this but also showed the limitations of this. With technology speeding along and changing quicker than most can keep up it is difficult to design a system to store items that will still be functional in even a reasonably short period of time. I touched on the dissemination of items being crucial. Obviously some items scream out with importance that they need to be preserved but the older they are the harder it is for people to get their hands on them.
Crowd sourcing as discussed in Digital Maps Are Giving Scholars the Historical Lay of the Land by Patricia Cohen is a great idea, while the obvious restrictions are obvious to see, it can be hugely beneficial. Opening up items to be seen online for people to have access too can be hugely beneficial. I have seen this first hand through Reddit when people have a question, the online community will be able to solve any problem. It is truly remarkable. Of course in the context of transcribing it can, as pointed out lead to more work fixing mistakes in the long run.
The diary of Mary Martin is an amazing Website that has been executed remarkable. While I don’t have very much personal interest in the subject matter I can only imagine if I did how excited I would be to have it. It sets a very high benchmark for digital preservation. I think information professionals will have to work alongside computer scientists closely if the two are to understand where the other is coming from in order to create a truly worthwhile preservation system. People like me may be a bit gun-ho when it comes to what to keep and what not. While librarians may be over sensitive and it is important to find a middle ground.
As I briefly mentioned earlier we can’t possible tell today what will be useful tomorrow which is exemplified by the Patricia Cohen piece Scholars Recruit Public for Project. Which showed us what would seem like insignificant data of typography and weather conditions of long ago are actually hugely important for piecing together a jigsaw puzzle of historical importance. As important as it is to store things, the system in place is as important so people are able to discover and get access to what they need. That would be of most interest to me rather then what is and what isn’t stored.
Digital Maps Are Giving Scholars the Historical Lay of the Land By Patricia Cohen
Scholars Recruit Public for Project By Patricia Cohen
The Diary of Mary Martin
White Paper: The Long Term Preservation of Digital Information
“You can document it but you can’t capture it.”
As good a place as any to start this week is with “The 21st Century Library” by Terry which can be linked in to my blog post from a couple of weeks back. This piece had to do with the design process of the Rhode Island School of Designs library. While only so much of a picture can be built from the description a converted old protected bank building in to a library it still lets the imagination run. Going beyond the actual process of design, the real point is how you adapt the library to fit the need. In order to do that you must first understand the need and that was the most important part of this story for me. All the planning and meetings, the endless consultations with staff students and stakeholders in order to create this wonderfully functioning space that went on to inspire other builds and win awards.
The next two pieces explain my tag line. Firstly the heritage outlook which looks at cataloguing images from the Kilkenny Design Workshops (KDW) which ran from the 60’s until the late 80’s. The second was the MacMahon document review which can’t be linked a long with the others at the end of this blog due to access only being made through UCD on this occasion. This newspaper piece looked at an exhibition which was held by NIVAL, which documents events’, exhibitions, artistic displays or whatever term you feel would be most suitable. “You can document it but you can’t capture it.” This comes from a point made in the review that while you can document an event, the date, the artist, where, what and when you can never quite capture the feeling of being there in person. This point resonated with me. While there are obvious reasons to document and archive such events the question remains how much are you losing out on and in turn what are we really gaining. The KDW archive which falls under the NIVAL umbrella also poises the same question. It allows you to look in the past but only through a key hole of a door that can’t fully be opened. It is so important however to hold on to these events of the past and as alluded to when people need to study them for whatever range of reasons if they can get their hands on original documents and a wealth of information to go along with it then it is a pretty good second best to being there in person and getting to experience it for yourself.
The final reading I did this week was the Tate Library Electronic ephemera. The collection of digital material in email format ranging from newsletter to promotional materials for artists, charities, events and beyond. A step too far in my opinion perhaps. The work that it takes to manage such a repository surely outweighs it benefits but who am I to draw a line in the sand and say as much. However it did bring up the copyright and storage issues which sometimes are wrongly overlooked in such cases. A particular favourite line of mine was the digital collection gathering dust which it can do if it is abandoned to a PDF file never to be looked after or at again. While this article highlighted the more or less failure of this project it did lay down the foundations for future work should someone take up the mantle. I don’t however think it will be me.
Terry 21st century library
Callaghan tate ephemera 2013
Walker heritage outlook 2011
MacMahon document review 2012
I found the main theme to be running through the resources was how libraries adapt to the environment they found themselves in. As pointed out in the ALA webcast this is nothing new as people once had to move from scrolls to books and how books in themselves are a form of technology. I think the other interesting facet was that libraries do not want to lose their identity either. They want to retain the ideology of what a library is but also provide much more, which is a careful balancing act.
An interesting factor brought up in 21st Century Libraries: Changing Forms, Changing Future was how the building itself impacts on how people firstly perceive it but also how it can be used to benefit its target audience and purpose. This is a subject I broached last term in regards to Ballyroan library and how it has been redesigned to match its function internally. The overall message was how technology impacts on every part of someone’s life and it is important to find a way to keep up with it but also deliver a library service which is enhanced by technology.
This directly leads to the information professional themselves and probably is touched best upon in the Copeland & Barreau which suggest the notion of what an information professional is expected to do has changed. People expect a certain level of professionalism and expertise when they ask someone a question. In another class at the moment we are learning how to form our own digital library and this will be useful information, which as explained in the reading is to share with people that are trying to use the latest technology to store important sentimental items amongst much more. Which is what in my mind the reading was getting at. I found the ALA webcast to be paramount on the topic of what role the information professional should be. Each speaker had a clear idea what it is they do and how they can be perceived as an information professional but wouldn’t consider themselves as a traditional librarian so to speak in any way.
The core competencies are an interesting area. As the MLIS course teaches, it is essential to have the traditional skills of a librarian but you now have to mix it with technology. When they spoke about librarians being out on the floor with an iPad and not stuck behind a desk. Incorporating not only technology but the need of the cliental is key also. The cliental can be greatly affected by the area a library finds itself in so its services provided will change accordingly.
The architecture of the library was the most interesting part to me. The importance of keeping up with advancements in technology is well known. I can see now libraries focus on who they are catering for and even with the location they pick or recognising the fact they might have to move continually to follow where they are needed. Where this falls in line with other information organisations is probably important for the traditional view of the library. The service they provided additional to the library. Understanding who you are catering for should be reflected in how you set up and look after them. If it’s as simple as timetabling when certain parts are open to certain people or just what services (computers, cafe, crèche) are provided.
Finding the right blend with technology and not losing the identity of the library even if that is sticking a big sign above the door as eluded to in the readings
ALA Webcast, episode 1- Library 2017: Tech at Warp Speed
Copeland & Barreau (2011). Helping people to manage and share their digital information: A role for public libraries