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11.00 am1B Professional Futures MR 10/11 Chair: Eleanor Whelan Yes, We’re Special – But How Special?: The Futures of Corporate Information Management Sue.

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Presentation on theme: "11.00 am1B Professional Futures MR 10/11 Chair: Eleanor Whelan Yes, We’re Special – But How Special?: The Futures of Corporate Information Management Sue."— Presentation transcript:

1 11.00 am1B Professional Futures MR 10/11 Chair: Eleanor Whelan Yes, We’re Special – But How Special?: The Futures of Corporate Information Management Sue Myburgh Two Different Approaches to Mentoring New Library Information Professionals: Chardonnay or Shiraz Gillian Hallam & Carol Newton Smith

2 The New Information Professionals: we’re special, but how special? Sue Myburgh University of South Australia

3 Blood, sweat and tears Subtitle:

4 Anomalies and differences in the understanding of what LIS is; Lack of clarity on what comprises different types of information work; Ignorance of the theoretical roots of the profession; Uncertainty regarding the future of the profession; Debates over red herrings; Lack of leadership from academia; Cognitive dissonance between academics and employers.

5 We cannot be like incremental policy analysts, who ‘often rule out of bounds the uninteresting (to them), the remote, the imponderable, the intangible and the poorly understood, no matter how important (Neill, 1991, p. 126).

6 Some definitions Data Management Knowledge Management Information Management Document Management Metadata Management

7 We thought for many years that we were in the wine business. In face, we were in the bottling business. And we don’t know a damned thing about wine. (John Perry Barlow, as quoted by Van House and Sutton, 1996)

8 Information as a strategic commodity “The future of librarianship thus hinges on what happens in the perpetually changing work of the profession in these three contexts: the context of larger social and cultural forces, the context of other competing occupations, and the context of competing organisations and commodities” (Abbott, 1998).

9 However, If knowledge is power, why don’t librarians run the world?

10 LIS will almost certainly not survive in its present form or paradigm, and the greatest threat to the profession is the ‘librarian mindset”

11 Bourdieu’s game You need to know the rules Action guided by habitus has the appearance of rationality but is based not so much on reason as on socially-constituted dispositions. Van House and Sutton, 1996

12 We are not always sure what game we are playing.

13 Elements of the LIS habitus Focus on documents, not information Focus on physical stores (even when they are digital), not skills and knowledge Emphasis on legitimizing such tasks Emphasis on LIS programs that focus on tools and institutions, rather in transferable concepts and analysis of information work.

14 The view of information as a commodity supports Popper’s description of World 3, the world of documents that contain information Information thus exists independent of human action – and has its own order and organisation (a natural order?)

15 The name of the rose Umberto Eco

16 Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it’s the only one you have. Emile Chartier

17 The choice Catastrophic change Or Collaboration, convergence and diversification

18 The problems of ‘disjointed incrementalism’ (Braybrooke and Lindblom, 1963)

19 This means… Change by default Small decisions made by committees Lack of coherent theory to provide a basis for multidisciplinary intersections (and other words longer than corrugated iron) And simultaneous fundamental shift in the frame of reference

20 Too much discussion has ranged around what is core for LIS. This continues. I think what we should be looking at is where the BOUNDARIES of the discipline are.

21 What do NIPs need to know? Selection of materials Organisation of documents and knowledge User studies Information retrieval and reference work

22 Solutions for the LIS educator Abbott (1998) – reduction and abstraction 1. The ‘new’ problem is identified as part of the existing field – similar (but different) – e.g. taxonomies; 2. ‘New’ problems are related to existing theories – e.g. classification theory accompanied by linguistics, semiotics, social construction of knowledge, contextual base of meaning etc. (Not just DDC)

23 Social responsibility The mark of a profession Social responsibility means that we can add pluralist perspectives; Reduce cultural and ideological differences Move beyond the insulting notion of ‘information rich’ and ‘information poor’ which denies indigenous knowledges

24 What should NIPs know? These are a few of my favourite things…. How is knowledge created and organized; How are information, data, documents, knowledge and technology managed and evaluated; Social issues, information policies, international perspective; Knowledge of information systems, media and technologies; Knowledge of a wide range of information environments and contexts, to provide a customized gateway; Human information behaviour – in society, organisations and individually; Decoupling from libraries – focus on what we know, in a variety of circumstances.

25 Issues arising… Less frequency of traditional roles Different competencies and skills required Consideration of cognitive, social and situational processes Changing paradigm Need for profound theoretical, holistic understanding of the discipline and professional applications

26 Differences between Trads and NIPs Proactive versus passive provision of relevant information; Information versus documents; Narrow focus versus large scope; User awareness versus broad-brush ‘canons’; Qualitative versus quantitative; Communication of information, not information objects; Response to need, versus storing and organizing documents.

27 “Try? There is no try. There is only do or not do.” Yoda the Jedi Warrior (Note: not worrier).


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