In part I'm doing this to pass on some things I've learned about information, searching, the net, and library users, over my 22 years as a librarian. But since there are a lot of things I DON'T do--cataloging, administration, extreme technical stuff--I am soliciting articles from other librarians who know things I don't.
Articles are going to be short, between 200-500 words. I'm not going to tell you everything about a topic--heck, I don't KNOW everything about very many topics. Think of them as conversation starters, something to get your own ideas going--and if they do, write back. Argue. Submit your own articles.
One continuing concern will be how we can use the internet, computers, and databases, to improve our services.
Another is the ways in which computers, the internet, and databases will irrevocably alter libraries, our users, and our political and financial environment--not to mention how they may change the structure of information as we now know it. Every technology that has ever become widespread has had unintended side effects, some of them destructive. I believe it is important to speculate now about the possible impact of our technologies so that we can plan ways to deal with those unintended consequences.
Another continuing concern will be what we have to do to make our systems usable for our patrons. We need to observe how they go about looking for information, and take this into account as we teach them our systems, design our interfaces, and write instructions.
Whatever the down side of the net, it offers us an unparalleled opportunity to share our collections and knowledge. We are the ultimate share-your-toys people, and I will be pointing to information professionals who have used the web in innovative ways to help not only their patrons but other librarians near and far as well. That's why I hope to conduct a series of interviews with some of the greats in the field, beginning April 9 with an interview with Tara Calashain.
Our strength is as the strength of ten not only because our hearts are pure, but because we ARE ten--or 100 or 5000 or more. We DO band together, in networks and user groups. Libraries are essentially local, but what we do benefits all the citizens of our states and our country. That's why I will also want to talk about what state libraries and library networks can and should do for individual libraries and their patrons. I am inviting some colleagues who have worked in and with library systems to talk about them.
I will also share with you any really good readings I come across.
Continuing features will include:
- RE:SEARCHING, which will pass on search tips, whether for database or internet searching.
- FAVORITE SITES ON..., which will take various topics and tell you which are the 3 or 4 sites I routinely use.
- NEAT NEW STUFF I FOUND THIS WEEK is moving from Best Information on the Net to Marylaine.Com. It will continue to acquaint you each week with a few academic sites, a few public library sorts of sites, a few reference sites, and a few that are just wonderful fun.
In part, though, Ex Libris is a free promotional part of my business, a reminder that I am now self-employed, and available as a speaker and internet trainer. I've done workshops for librarians and made presentations at several conferences (the photo on my opening page is me speaking at the Internet Librarians Conference in 1998). If you're interested, take a look at my resume for further details, or send me an e-mail.
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Please send any comments or suggestions to: marylaine at netexpress.net