Our jobs as librarians really hasn't changed too much in the past couple
thousand years. Basically, as Eric says, it's our core purpose to collect,
organize, and disseminate information-- that's always been our job and I
hope we stay in business for a long time to come.
However, the medium in which that information manifests itself has changed
dramatically-- stone tablets, papyrus, books, microfiche, to digital
information, and our tools are changing (more) dramatically as a
consequence. I think writing computer software is a challenging task-- a
task admittedly beyond many people. It takes a special person, first of all,
to be a good programmer... I also think it takes a special person to be a
good librarian. The combination of these two skills sets is a *rare* thing.
Secondly, I also think it's a cultural thing. I'll go ahead and be frank:
when I imagine a "typical" programmer, I think of a young male. When I
imagine a "typical" librarian, I think of an older female.
Thirdly, I believe our library schools are failing us. I couldn't count how
many media specialist or cataloging classes were offered each semester at my
alma mater if I used both hands and feet. However, there might be one
"serious" technical class offered in a semester-- and the level of said
class is below what I would consider acceptable for a freshman-level
computer/programming class. Sure, the amount of classes in each area is
probably a fair representation of the make up of the student body-- which
probably means we aren't recruiting the right people... Which is probably a
result of a the librarian's image in society (see paragraph above).
Just a couple thoughts. ;)
PINES System Administrator
Georgia Public Library Service
"Higitus, figitus, migitus, mum. Prestidigitonium!"
--Merlin, Disney's "Sword in the Stone"
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Eric Lease Morgan [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 12:05 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [CODE4LIB] Computer programming
> To what degree do y'all think computer programming should be
> skill aspects of librarianship?
> Since the charter of this mailing lists states it purpose as
> "...to provide a forum for discussion of computer programming
> in the area of libraries and information science...", and
> since the code4lib mailing list now includes about
> seventy-five (75) subscribers, I thought I try to get things started.
> Computers are great tools for storing vast amounts of
> data/information. Combined with a network, computers are also
> great tools for sharing/communicating this information with
> other computers, and therefore people.
> Librarianship is (partially) about collecting, organizing,
> archiving, disseminating, and sometimes evaluating
> data/information/knowledge. These processes seem very similar
> to the sorts of processes computers can facilitate.
> Why is it then that more librarians do not know how to create
> computer software?
> Eric Lease Morgan
> Head, Digital Access and Information Architecture Department
> University Libraries of Notre Dame
> (574) 631-8604