On Sep 4, 2014, at 8:25 PM, Kyle Banerjee <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 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.
Yes. Exactly. This is the sort of distinction you should be expecting from your vendors, as well, btw.
Although, at the same time, there’s a balance. The “unique snowflake” mentality has just as often been used to disregard trends and technologies from outside libraries.
You want an understanding of library needs, workflows, and culture without any navel gazing.