Leading with Technology

One of the things that struck me the most about Christopher Harris’ talk was the choice of language that he used, the Seth Rubin things that to me felt slightly corporate. I thought they were quite effective, but it was interesting to me that he seemed to be choosing not to use the language of librarians. In terms of what he said, the idea of really looking at how and who is using the technology that you have in your library seems so key, because what counts is what you’re getting from the tech. The idea of making sure that you see the tech as a tool to make a part of lessons when it makes sense and to make sure that the daily technology that’s in use in your library is the best. I thought that the way he restructured his library’s catalog made a lot of sense like having all of the versions of a book appear in one entry instead of being scattered about and the focus on what is the user getting out of it. Yet I did wonder about the use of search and he seemed at times to be working quite hard to make clear that this isn’t how librarians do things, which was an unexpected angle. I know that he’s an outsider so I found myself curious how much some of the language and choices came from this isn’t the best thing and this is how we’ve always done it and wishing to change that.

Also I wanted to speak to the idea of gamers and organization and experience since in another class we’re talking about online communities and gaming. As I read more literature about how games are studied, its clear to me that most of the games that people look at really aren’t what I do. I’ve played Dungeons and Dragons and in Larps and with other games systems and I currently roleplay on livejournal yet a great focus in studying is on World of Warcraft and video games. It worries me, because I think that researchers are restricting themselves and actually missing out on another world of games just one that’s not as obvious because its not so clear that look lots of money is being generated here. For example, most of the people that I roleplay with online are women and I ran a gaming group in college yet these studies seem to focus on male gamers. I worry that this idea that this focus on not seeing earned experience comes far more from perceptions of gamers from one type of gaming. Looking over this, I think this is something that I need to examine in more detail elsewhere.

I found Chris Harris quite useful in terms of ideas of how to evaluate technology and use it to your best advantage along with being willing to take the lead in terms of bringing tech to those who might be afraid of it. Its so important to be ahead of the curve and aware of what’s out there and balance it with also being willing to say, this tech isn’t the right choice.


1 Comment

Filed under school library management reflection

One response to “Leading with Technology

  1. Kristin

    One thing I took away from Chris’ keynote at MAME last fall was this: if you don’t enjoy change, then be ahead of the change so you can control it.

    Your observation on Chris’ use of language, borrowing from folks like Seth Godin (sethgodin.com), is a topic unto itself. Chris talks to administrators — IS an administrator — how does it help libraries when we speak a language that’s familiar to our constituents/decisionmakers versus language that is unfamiliar (cataloguing, information literacy, etc.)?

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