The Future of Librarians

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sexy Librarians of the Future Will Help You Upload Your Videos to YouTube - ReadWriteWeb Annotated

Who could help improve this landscape by maximizing the impact of the read/write web? Super sexy librarians, that's who!

And Now for the Sexy Librarian Part...

From the other direction, though, as any experienced online media producer will tell you - there are steps that you can take to make your media easier for the right person to find. This is going to be an important role for information workers of the future.

Check out this wonderful 3 minute section of an interview that Microsoft's Jon Udell did last week on the Talking With Talis podcast. Udell posits that the librarian of the future will help a growing number of citizen media producers to classify their online media and get it connected to other related content in ways that will increase its discoverability. That is hot.

Imagine a future when you go to the library with a 5 minute video you've just made about last night's Presidential debates and that librarian says to you:

You should upload it to YouTube and tag it with these four tags - two broad and two more specific to existing communities of interest on YouTube and the topic of your video. Then you should embed that video in a blog post along with some text introducing it and linking to some of your favorite posts by other people who have also written today about the Presidential debates. Make sure to send trackbacks to those posts!

Now, I think this is a particularly good video on the topic, so if you're interested I will vote for it on StumbleUpon (as a sexy librarian I have a very powerful account there) and give it a good summary explanation. Any of those are steps you can take that will make your work all the easier for people to discover.

Would that be great, or what? That's only the beginning of what is possible! My point is, while mainstream commercial media may still be what the majority of people online are looking for - there are a substantial number of us for whom that's not the case and as we learn to serve eachother and ourselves better in terms of recommendations, discoverability and relevance - our numbers will likely grow.

Minus the "sexy" part, this is very closely aligned to what I envision to be a useful service for librarians to offer. I think that we should be increasingly focusing our attention on creating useful online tools for patrons to utilize the vast capabilities of the internet and to becoming experts at what is possible online in order to better serve patrons. If you look at the physical makeup of a given library, very few resources are devoted to this sort of evolving role (and I would argue this is still so after recent library redesigns and refocuses, here and elsewhere).

Even more intriguing to me is the point this article makes by fusing traditional and emerging roles of librarians. In one way of thinking, a library is an expert categorizer. So, it would make sense that a main library service would be to not only help patrons find resources through sound knowledge of categorization, but to help them to categorize the resources that are being created. In this role, librarians everywhere would be making a massive push forcing academia out of the "ivory tower" and utilizing the strengths of academia and advanced education to help organize the vast user generated information and categorization of information on the internet.

Comments Source: K-State Libraries: Talking in the Library: The Future of Librarians Annotated

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