> I know a lot gets said (here and elsewhere) about Technology for Librarians
> - important skills and standards, what's
> important/useful/trending/ignorable, and the like. But I'd love to start a
> discussion (or join one, if it already exists elsewhere) about the other
> side of things - the library-specific stuff that experienced IT folks might
> need to learn or get used to to be successful in a library environment. Not
> just technical stuff like MARC, but also ethical issues like fair use,
> information privacy, freedom of access, and the like.
I think some of these issues are distractions as they aren't specific to
libraries, aren't really different than any IT work involving private
information (i.e. virtually all IT work), and don't require library
expertise to understand. However, on the question of whether the job of
Director of Library IT is more about librarianship or IT, I'd always
assumed the former is the case.
Library IT needs to leverage library specific knowledge/technologies to
perform functions that "plain" IT cannot if the cost of an independent IT
unit is to be justified. Everyone relates to public search interfaces, but
there's an entire infrastructure that makes a combination of licensed,
purchased, locally created, and borrowed resources with differential access
for various user groups (some of them external) possible.
Knowledge of formats, protocols, standards, and common practices is
helpful, but understanding business needs that are common to libraries but
not really thought of elsewhere is also essential. If we mostly duplicate
commodity functions that are already performed elsewhere, we just set
ourselves up to be outsourced.