So a politician, a nun, and a librarian are trapped in a collapsed mine.
After the initial shock they decide to tie themselves together and as a group to venture down the remaining shaft for some means of escape. Soon they bump into a smooth and clearly man made object. They gather around it trying to feel what it is.
The politician says “I think it is a piece of faulty mine equipment. Once I am on the surface I shall hold hearings and find those accountable.”
The nun says “I believe it a door sent by God to save us. Librarian, what do you think it feels like?”
“Let’s see a group of people without a leader groping around in the dark looking either for someone to blame or a miracle? Feels like a library committee to me.”
Lankes, R. David (2010). Innovators wanted: No experience necessary? In Walter and Williams (Eds.), The expert library: Sustaining, staffing, and advancing the academic library in the 21st century. Association of College and Research Libraries.
“Reference in the Crowd” Trendy Topics Online Conference on Digital Reference, http://www.trendytopics.info/
This was a presentation done as part of the outstanding series of Trendy Topics Online conferences. The full archive of all the conference presenations plus past and future confernces can be found at http://www.trendytopics.info/. Special thanks to Tom Peteres and Lori Bell who put on the conferences and are doing a great service to the library community. Please support these and sign up for a future conference.
Abstract: Digital reference allowed us to escape the bounds of a building and any single collection. We have every right to be proud of transitioning reference from desks in the library to the desks of our members (and their phones). And yet much of this new digital freedom has carried over assumptions and policies developed in places and spaces. What we have built with software, cooperatives, and a mobilized cohort of reference librarians is not an end, but merely a platform for us to truly revolutionize reference. What does answering questions in an interconnected universe of expertise, members, resources, and freedom from the confines of the physical allow us to do? Can we create a whole new reference unrecognizable by our predecessors and infinitely better?