Posted tagged ‘Guardian’

Homophily

February 2, 2009

I realize this site is rapidly decending into being nothing more than Tim Spalding fan service, but I can’t help it if the man’s opinions tend to mirror my own.  His latest blog post is a bit on libraries, social networks, and homophily.  The post is in direct response to a Guardian article

The relevant bit is that library catalogs can contribute to this problem, and I’m going to extend that to the physical layout of our collections as well.  Very few patrons like to browse anymore.  By and large people expect to be able to come in, find the one book/subject they’re interested in, grab the relevant title and walk out.  To use Tim’s word, this system removes serendipity from the process.

Our catalog is designed to cater this behavior, and there are plenty of librarians out there taking the next step.  This is one of the reasons special collections can tick me off.  There are certainly reasons why a few of them (local interest) can be a good idea, but much of the time it just limits browsing further and ensures that some of your mid-list titles (or those that defy easy catagorization) will never be discovered.

OCLC Again

January 22, 2009

I’m at work at the moment so I don’t have the time to go into this at length, but I must share.  The Guardian has just published a great piece going after the OCLC record policy, with a particular focus on how it’s a blatant attack on the Open Library Project.  It’s a must read!

Inspirational architecture

April 21, 2008

A friend just sent me this nice little article from the Guardian on current trends in library design.  This is a great write up on the approaches that library ought to be taking in regards to planning for the future, so of course it came from outside of the professional literature.  The focus of it is largely on making libraries environments that are more conducive to learning through their physical design.

This is an issue that is dear to my heart as my own library is in the middle of a renovation project.  Sadly, while the interior will be vastly improved, in the end the exterior will still look like a fallout shelter.  But then we can’t all be like the Cerritos library which has among other things a 15,000 gallon saltwater aquarium and a T-Rex.  I’m gradually coming to terms with this sad fact.

Anyway, architecture seems to be the one aspect of progress that libraries really have a handle on.  With each renovated building, libraries are becoming more desirable places to learn, work, or just relax.  I know of a number of regular patrons who come to the library solely because it’s a far better place for aiding their concentration than their own homes (and this is while the sound of drilling is resonating throughout the building).  This is a huge credit to the work being done by all libraries, and I must say it’s really nice to be able to say something positive here for once.