I think there are a handful of reasons we don't see more programmer librarians:

1) The marxist perspective -- folks who can write decent software can get
paid better doing something other than librarianship and don't have to get
another degree first. The fact that we have more librarian-programmers than
a few years ago may have to do with the fact that writing code alone no
longer guarantees employment. Librarianship is a second career for a lot of
people; but most of our feeder-careers aren't in programming...

2) As others have mentioned, programming is not part of the standard LIS
curriculum. I went to U of Michigan 5 or 6 years ago, which was really
gearing up for the world of information beyond libraries, and there was
very little software development on the curriculum. There was some Java,
but I didn't know then why I might want it. There was a 4-day Perl class
taught by a student who thought we all ought to know some Perl. That class
is essentially the basis for all the work I've done since.

3) Time: developing decent software demands that we have the time to do the
job. Anything I can write in straightforward Perl and PHP may get written,
but I don't really have the time to learn much beyond that or tinker with
it. Having said that, if I go on sabbatical (crossing fingers) I'll be
working on a regular collections-evaluation project, but it may turn into a
programming project. Maybe something useful will come out of it.

I'm not really a programmer-librarian. I'm a reference librarian who knows
enough about a few scripting languages to build some tools that make
information more accessible. I lack a lot of the organization and
forethought and good coding practice that it would take to develop serious


>Eric Lease Morgan wrote:
>>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 " 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
>>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
>>Why is it then that more librarians do not know how to create computer
>>Eric Lease Morgan
>>Head, Digital Access and Information Architecture Department
>>University Libraries of Notre Dame
>>(574) 631-8604

Ken Irwin                                               [log in to unmask]
Reference/Electronic Resources Librarian        (937) 327-7594
Thomas Library, Wittenberg University