Knowledge Networks: response to nature

Knowledge networks have a broader connotation for me as a librarian. This is what we do! We create networks among knowledge resources first for our employer’s community but also deliberately (see Open Access Overview) as well as inadvertently for the public. VTechWorks  is our fledgling online repository that enables us to create links among its resources, which are largely the university’s unique resources. Addison, the library’s online catalog, uses bibliographic records to link (largely fee-based) library resources in certain categories like authors, titles, subjects, etc.  Summon is a knowledge network that expands upon Addison, VTechWorks and many, many other subscription databases that the library provides to the current university community, and sometimes to the public.

I would say that only a portion of the library’s knowledge networks have effective feedback loops. For example, an interlibrary loan request may lead to the library purchasing a copy or access to an e-version of the work. Most of our feedback loops are more nuanced. That is, we may log server statistics (accesses, downloads, etc.), but like circulation statistics, this doesn’t mean we regularly analyze them and weed our virtual and physical collections of unused publications. [Tangent—It’s a lesson we have not learned about our digital libraries—that they should be weeded of unused materials. Libraries have tended to weed their buildings only when shelving gets tight, or, as we are currently discovering, we need more room for people in the library and less room for the materials on the shelves because the balance of library uses has shifted from works on the shelves to works on servers and networks.]

These are now very traditional library resources and services. However, libraries are changing, and the VT library in particular. We have new leadership and we’re ‘open to the definition of what an academic library is and considering what people need it to become.’ In particular the Ubiquitous Librarian, Brian Mathews, has writen Think Like a STARTUP.

This is all I have time to write and I know I haven’t addressed the real issue that nature was getting at.

1st Blog: Ubiquitous Librarian, McLuhan for NMR

Finally, my first blog post and I hate that it’s going to be negative. But I can delete it later, right?

Actually, it’s not the first. Last month I was reading Brian Mathew’s Ubiquitous Librarian and wrote these thoughts in an email to myself;>)

I forget that he has a blog but every once in a while I get far enough down on the CHE online page to see the link. Always enjoy reading them. Today’s is about linking between online books. Haven’t finished it yet but what struck me is that he’s got an illustration of a shelf of his books. How would he illustrate his collection of online books? His list of files wouldn’t be nearly as visually interesting.

I’ve been reading more online since I got the easily transportable MacAir, and I don’t feel like I need an ebook reader. Wouldn’t it be just another device to put in the bag I carry to/from the library where I work (in addition to my lunch and empty containers)? I still read paper every night before I go to sleep.

Another concern is that I download and put in my Read folder things I think I’d like to read. Often I get to them but sometimes not and I can see that folder growing like a poorly managed library collection that’s rarely weeded. I don’t like the thought of downloading and not reading lots of books. [When will we stop calling the ebooks, ejournals, ETDs, etc. and just books, journals, etc.?]

How do blogs intersect? If I wanted to put this in mine and Brian’s both?

A Q for Brian: how would I allow or disallow people to interact w/me? Suppose there’s somebody who I don’t respect who wants to influence my reading? And, yes, I want to separate my mystery novels from my digital preservation and cost modeling articles.

Totally agree: “It’s not about losing what’s in the stacks; it’s about greater access to content that is linked together more effectively.”

Anyway, today I’m reading McLuhan’s “Galaxy Reconfigured” for the NMR seminar and, so far, not liking it much. Normally I think I’m pretty literate and have a decent vocabulary, but not when I’m reading McLuhan. I somehow didn’t read him when I was in college in the late 60s in California, I must have gotten by by reading about what he said.

Back to it.