Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Librarianship needs to solve the information overload crisis

Watched "No Time to Think" and Dr. Levy, the presenter, describes a series of crises and resolutions in the recent past:
  1. The rise in business and size of organizations threatened with lack of management mechanisms, ergo the creation of the corporation and office management technologies.
  2. The increase in production with the declining demand for products threatened over-production, but then led to the development of modern advertising and marketing practices.
He points out the current "information overload" and "lack of time to think" crisis that we are in and sees the Web and online technologies as at least part of the solution.  And of course, I think about how librarianship needs to be a part of that solution as well.

We, as librarians, need to consider how to help our patrons with these problems.  Sure, we provide access to the information and assist people in finding exactly what they need/want. We even work at helping in the management of that information.  But I don't think we're doing exactly what needs to be done to resolve the problem, particularly in the eye of our users (or those non-users that influence our funding).  We need to LOOK like we're helping.  We need to make our users FEEL like we are lifting a weight off their shoulders and make it obvious to non-users that that's what we're doing.

Here are some suggestions (inspired by the presentation's points):
  1. Raise awareness:  Librarians are in a somewhat unique position to be authoritative on this topic.  Think about the issue yourself, and tell others about it.
  2. Provide the space:  Honestly, I thought about this before Dr. Levy mentioned it, but libraries have typically been a place for this contemplative study time.  We need to promote it and nurture it.
  3. Provide the tools:  We provide access to information tools to manage and access resources.  We need to do this more intentionally and widen the scope of these tools.
Anything else?

[ Discovered this video through Lifehacker's "David Levy on Having No Time to Think" ]

No comments: