13 February 2013

Google's Digitalisation Project: Good or Bad?

Recently, I was introduced to TEDtalks and I came across a library related podcast called "What we learned from 5 million books".
After four years of research, Harvard’s Erez Leiberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel states that a picture isn’t worth a 1000 words. It is worth 500 billion words. To understand human culture in which we have changed the way we use words and record them from the past to the present; one would read a lot of books but it isn’t very practical. Google’s Digitalisation project on the other hand has made it very practical and easier to find the information (specifically words and phrases) that you are looking for in the click of a button.
This made me think about:
How does Google’s Digitalisation project affect modern day libraries?
In modern times, libraries have to be able to provide the best service to users which would mean having the most convenient access to information anywhere in the world, which is regularly updated and available 24hours 7 days a week. Clearly the best answer would be the internet! It allows the preservation of large library archives, where physical space to store them in running out and the risk of damage by fire or flooding is reduced significantly. This was one of the reasons why the Google Print Library would set up in 2004, to store large in-house libraries whether it is manuscripts, books, journals etc from 5 different US universities.

The internet has become a necessity to keeping libraries alive, simply because the cost to run them has greatly increased over the years which have had a knock on effect on the amount of qualified librarian hired to run them. Not to mention due to the value of the printed resources, the amount of security needed to ensure the safety of priceless one-time items.However, for anyone dealing with digitalisation you would have to quote the disadvantage of copyrights law and issues related to digital information security and confidentiality. One would say that they are public records so there shouldn’t be any problems, but what happens when a non-subscriber to digitalized information acquires a copy? How does this affect future negotiations with authors?

Furthermore, one has to think of the managerial and financial issues related to libraries and technology. A lot of libraries have been stuck in their ways about not modernising and refuse to adopt digitalisation. That is all well and good for libraries that have good budgets, government funding and great sponsors. However, the libraries that don’t have such support, they need to be able to adapt while still retaining managerial control over licensing and policy making. This is where E-libraries have developed, as you do not need a lot of technical support and can be updated regularly at the speed in which collections are acquired. Donations can be used as a method to constantly fund them without digging into the day-to-day funding of primary activities.

This completely, disputes statements that librarians become useless with digitalisation as it takes a continuous team effect to update the online library around daily activities. Furthermore, this also improves librarians IT skills for further development in content management systems. Thus, improving upon the delivery and means to which information is available in the coming future.

I am curious however, to know what others think about this subject in terms of pros and cons of digitalisation on modern day libraries. 



4 February 2013

A Librarian Career

While I was studying, I didn't really realise how much I loved my library services until I actually started working at my university library. Now, that I have graduated my BA (Hons) Business Management and Information Management degree with 1st Class Honours, I really want to contribute to the development of Library Services.

However, while most people would think all a library consists of is shelving books accurately; I have realised that it requires a lot of skills that make having a librarianship very difficult. Especially in an information-driven and knowledge-based society called the UK, there is more people using digital means to find information than there are specialist librarians.

As a graduate trying to move into the Information Management career, I want to have a wide range of skills ranging from Administration, Content Management Systems, Library Information Technology, Web Design, Social Media Platform Management and finally being a Librarian within the Information/Knowledge Management sector. However, how does one have an actual career in such a sector when most library graduate positions are slowing declining and more libraries have a mass of volunteers?

This blog will literally depict all the challenges I will be facing to becoming a Library and Information Management Specialist and the skills I have gained a long the way.