August 06, 2004

Marcia Bates on Information Science

We were assigned a wonderful article for SLIS 6000 by Marcia Bates called "Mining the Substrate of Information Science," in which she discusses the underlying functions of the discipline. here are my thoughts, as posted to our class board:

“Currently,” Bates writes, “the wheel is being reinvented everyday on the information superhighway” because of digital information and the leaps and bounds of IT. Bates states that IS folks have been bypassed and we have all the expertise. When you want something done right pertaining to information, get a librarian to do it! I appreciated that sentiment.

When Bates mentions we need to make ourselves know or “be washed away in the flood” I was reminded that many of the biggest innovations in the Web world were done NOT by LIS folk but by the Amazon people or the Google guys. Where have all the librarians been? Sadly, I think many have been trying to catch up. The wave/flood is a swift current!

Representing information..creating databases and catalogs. Librarians figuring out how to represent a patron’s question. These passages were wonderful!

I also agree that we do not need to be subject specialists but specialists in the information world. To a further degree I would make this claim for librarians and “techiness.” Every librarian does not have to be a total IT whiz, but a strong foundation of tech-literacy is a good thing to stand on.

Recorded information. The universe of recorded information. How people use it. If we design ANYTHING in a library setting from web pages to instructional classes on how to use the web, we are looking at how our users seek, retrieve and use information. We also try to stay aware of new methods of transfer and retrieval. IM is one that many folks are starting to discuss in LIS settings. RSS (“Rich Site summary”) is another. No matter what vehicle, bates states that “we always follow the information.”

Finally – it was refreshing to read Bates’ passage about humor in the IS world. I would not survive in a stuffy room of hunched, sneering scientists!! (I also heard that Llewellyn C. Puppybreath III gave an exciting speech at ALA in Orlando but I missed it!)

Posted by Michael at August 6, 2004 11:01 AM
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