Monday, September 20, 2004

pat's intro

Hello all,

Since I will be joining you tonight for class, I think it's time to introduce myself.

I am itinerant doctoral student, yes, I have been at this for quite some time, embarrassingly so. I'll spare you the details of my student career, but will say that if I had scurried rather than strolled through this program, I would now be on sabbatical. Instead, I am scurrying to write my dissertation. Which takes me to the reason for being in this class.

I have been teaching Info Org courses at the University of Illinois since Fall 2000, and have enjoyed every minute of it. But one can only be 'Visiting' for so long. Since being at Illinois, I have heard countless conversations about designing progams centered on "Digital Libraries" and have more often than not been stunned by the proposed courses. Mathematics, algorithms, in short, what looks much more like a CS than an LIS degree.

For the last ten years, there has been a tremendous amount of money and energy invested in creating digital libraries. Infrastructure and getting things to work and developing new tools have, rightly so (arguably) been the main object of grant monies. Now, the funding pendulum is swinging towards preservation and use. What I have yet to see much of, though, is discussion of the nature of the work for digital librarians, or, 'digital era librarians.' Indiana just received an IMLS grant that includes a needs assessment for digital librarianship, this is encouraging.

My research will examine the nature of the work, the context, the values, and perspectives of the LIS digital librarian. Via case studies, I hope to discover these aspects of digital librarianship, and with this, contribute to the design of relevant LIS programs.

Thank you all in advance for letting me join in your conversations.

See you tonight.


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