Category Archives: Emerging Trends in Librarianship
Changes in the roles of both information specialists as well as the institutions in which they are employed.
There is ample research to show that a community based education model can greatly enhance the learning capabilities of its members. Moreover, learning is inherently a communal activity, which is perfectly exemplified by the classroom setup, where a group of students interact amongst themselves and with the faculty. Transpose this behavior to the world of internet and we have what we call online learning communities.
What is an Online Community?
An online community is a group of people united by similar interests and purpose using the virtual medium to interact with each other. These are communities first, online second. In the real world also, whether it is due to a particular geographic area where one resides or professional space where one works, we all, voluntarily or involuntarily, are a part of one or the other community. When these real world communities use internet as a medium to connect with each other, communicate, work together and pursue some common interests over the course of time they take shape of online communities.
A community that has collaborative learning as its primary purpose and uses internet as a medium to achieve the same can be referred to as online learning community. There has been growing buzz about the impact and benefits of building online learning communities, and particularly, the last few years have seen a tremendous growth in the number of such communities. The increasing clout of social networking, greater internet penetration and easily available computing technology can be held responsible for this proliferation. Although online education itself is not an entirely new phenomenon, dating back to the times when even internet didn’t existed, large scale online community building started with the Web 2.0 era in the last decade.
What can we do to make the case for the humanities? Unlike the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), they do not—on the surface—contribute to the national defense. It is difficult to measure, precisely, their effect on the GDP, or our employment rates, or the stock market.
And yet, we know in our bones that secular humanism is one of the greatest sources of strength we possess as a nation, and that we must protect the humanities if we are to retain that strength in the century ahead.
I do not exactly hail from the center of the humanities. I’m an economist, with a specialization in health and economic development. When you ask economists to weigh in on an issue, the chances are good that we will ultimately get around to a basic question: “Is it worth it?” Support for the humanities is more than worth it. It is essential. Read more…
For all the concern expressed about the imminent demise of the college library, there may never have been a time when librarians seemed more vital, forward-thinking—even edgy—than they do now.
It’s a dated reference, but today’s information professionals often remind me more of Ian Malcolm, the “chaos theorist” played by Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park (1993), than of the eyeglass-chain-wearing librarians of yore, if they ever existed in significant numbers. (I have seen only one, Mrs. Evelyn, from my elementary school in the early 70s.)
It’s not that many of today’s librarians routinely dress in sunglasses and black leather (though some do). It’s that, more than any other class of professionals in higher education, librarians possess a comprehensive understanding of the scholarly ecosystem. They know what’s going on across the disciplines, among professors and administrators as well as students. No less important, they are often the most informed people when it comes to technological change—its limits as well as its advantages. Read more…
Yes, Virginia, it matters which library school you go to
The other day the Loon read a short article about applying to library jobs that scoffed at applicants who try to trade on the supposed prestige of their library school. Those library schools, they’re all the same; it doesn’t matter which one you went to, because no one you’re talking to will care.
Well. Yes. And also no. Read more…