I read Marshall Breeding’s May 2017 “Library Systems Report 2017” way back when it was published in American Libraries magazine – but something struck me this morning while reading a completely unrelated article on politics/culture in the US…
(accessed from American Libraries magazine, 27 July 2017)
That if, as Breeding states, in the internet age, libraries are moving toward increasingly centralized, for-profit “solutions” for their tools and services – from technical services, authority syncing, reference chat tools and vendors for research materials of all formats (and I think he is correct), then libraries are moving away from their democratic ideals towards arrangements with a more fascist bent.
This trend in libraries of course simply reflects the state of culture at large that works by default with the internet.
But the end result, as I see it, is at least twofold:
- That the number of librarians and interested connected professionals are able to engage less and less in the design and implementation of those technologies across almost every front- This not only affects those people’s ability to engage in deep-dive lifelong learning, but it also means that “design local” as a guiding metaphor is being thrown out the window. Even as libraries’ staff talk about how much they like to serve their patrons/community/users (whatever each library wants to call its local constituents, it is actually less able over time to to design solutions built specifically for those very people.
- That one major result of the above trend as partially commented upon in bullet # 1 is a significant decline in diversity – this even as diversity & inclusion committees and working groups are being formed across libraryland in the United States. We talk about diversity and intellectual freedom in libraries. But we define those ideas in increasingly narrow terms if we do not take into consideration the elaborate tools that might be built if local libraries maintained their own servers, ILSs, and well defined privacy policies that could be much better managed if local libraries (of all types) maintained a higher level of control over their own systems.
The result of this trend migrates thinking & tinkering away from local decision making, policies, technological innovation towards a totalitarian model wherein diversity is discouraged and intellectual freedom is hindered across several important fronts – especially meaningful fronts in the information age.
A few thoughts…
Thank you for reading.
I am officially starting my PYTHON training.
(accessed here, 24 july 2017)
I note two things to begin.
- Python itself can do things based on libraries it already has.
- I have not gotten to tasks that will make use of source material or code external to python itself – this will be a little while yet.
I do, however, have a modest goal to motivate myself: to move a script I currently run with PERL for a monthly task at work to PYTHON – I think it is simple enough to learn – but will prepare me for ever more tasks running with this language.
Next step – install and configure git (github) for work across machines and between windows and linux.*
Wish me luck.
- I am running UbuntuGnome as my preferred distro at home.
I was all keen on writing a little blog post on this, when I did a search and found, of course, even my ideas are copies. Josh Spiegel, over at The Hollywood Reporter, says basically the same thing. His article explores the way in which hollywood tends toward continual expansion of more sequels and over-explanation – even to the point of ruining the movies they are trying to promote. I believe this trend started down this path with Star Wars when the plot involved analysis of mitochondria in the force etc. Points like this are laughable and in no way make the movies better – or at least that seems to be Spiegel’s point.
Fundamentally I agree. I will not belabor the point. But I will simply quickly conclude by reiterating that our thoughts, though seemingly original, are probably being thought already – which leads me to wonder about creation, creativity and our stubborn reliance on our own uniqueness. Maybe it’s time to move on. I feel that somehow, by moving past our own egos – that we might also be able to create better movies with fewer sequels or reboots – if that era of film-making, we would neither need another Blade Runner nor six Alien films.
I am looking to join the writing game…
I am open to other suggestions.
PS: I am also wondering how best to use one’s blog as content carrier and vehicle for self-promotion.