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LOTR Librarian

This blog is for lovers of LOTR wishing to find information about Tolkien, discuss Tolkien, or for librarians who happen to love Tolkien's books. (No movie discussion here, please.) It is also for general librarianship rants based on experiences or beliefs of the LOTR Librarian. Attention Spammers: Your comments will be deleted. Don't waste your time here. Go elsewhere. English-only comments please. If you want to comment in Mandarin, German, Spanish, etc; frequent blogs in those languages.


"Oyarsa" for those who don't know, is the name of an archangel (or "god" with a little 'g') in C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy. I liked the character, so I stole the name. Who am I? I am a library science student in Illinois who has a variety of interests--too many to list! I have worked in libraries for five years and counting.

Are you a good person?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Irony of Jessamyn West

"Is this the sort of thing the ALA needs to have a stated opinion about?" -- Jessamyn West. This is the same Jessamyn West who evidently saw no problem with the organization drafting a resolution on withdrawing troops from Iraq. How do I know? She voted on the issue.

But then, I don't suppose I should be surprised at such things. After all, she's a councilwoman for an organization whose members voice concern about the "commercial nature" of such things as the Google Digitalization project.

Some librarians seem to forget how commercial enterprises revolutionized our profession. It's sad how some are unable even to acknowledge the role the for-profit crowd has played. But then, I've always felt that if libraries ever lose their relevance in our rapidly changing society, it will be our own fault.


Blogger Jessamyn said...

Seems like a valid question to me: "Are we paying attention to the right things?" There's nothing wrong with commercial services per se, but we need to be careful that libraries are representing the people who pay to keep them open, not the vendors who sell things to us. It's important to pay attention to make sure that we're keeping the patrons interests in mind first, they keep our doors open.

ALA, on the other hand, is not a library. They have a large number of corporate members who are very important to keeping the organization afloat. It's also important for them to pay attention to things that are revolutionizing libraries, such as the extreme usability of Google and their extension into previously library-only domains. --jessamyn

Sun Nov 06, 09:23:00 PM PST  
Blogger Oyarsa said...

I never said the question wasn't valid; only pointed out the irony of wondering whether or not something directly related to the library field should have a resolution passed, while the ALA has several resolutions on non- library related issues.

I'm aware ALA is not a library, by "librarians seem to forget" I was referring to some ALA members who worry about the "commercial nature" of X and Y.

But I would like to know; how is Google's digitalization project, whereby "snippets" of books in several research libraries would be published online different from what has been going on at Amazon, for instance? Through Search Inside!(tm) you cannot read an entire book at amazon; I believe (though I have not ascertained this) that the limit of pages you can view in a book is within the vicinity of 10 pages, if that. Therefore, I do not believe it unreasonable that Google could use similar technology in it's print service.

So, by all means, discuss it at the council. Pass a resolution. I'm much more inclined to support the ALA when it discusses library business than non.

As far as whether we're keeping the patron's interest in mind first, that is debatable, but I will let it go for now.

Thank you for your response, Ms. West. Hope you have a wonderful week.


Mon Nov 07, 08:36:00 AM PST  

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