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LIS 950: Libraries and community

The purpose of this seminar is to explore an important topic in library and information studies in depth — in all its intertwined historical, cultural, philosophical, and political aspects — through a graduate reading/discussion seminar. The topic varies each time the course is taught; this time around, we will focus on "libraries and community"

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

On Cyberspace

This book provides a list of many useful facts, and more on what lies ahead in the future of the librarian. From the book, I can see how to structure and link the contents of the book to existent issues on LIS, users, and the librarian. As Bundy says, “is this too much, or too little”, I very much agree since there might be no ultimate or final answers to the questions of our future, but at least there might be a degree of balance or appropriateness of us and factors in the construction of the “information age” environment. I think the idea of Memex, in the history, is a good start that leads to consideration of how information could be treated; and I think it brings to me the idea of a “one-stop service” in the library.

I am very interested in Technological changes and their influences. I think technological changes have impacts on librarians, users, information, environment, lifestyles, and many other things. “Cyberspace”, as one of the results by technological changes, expands the territory of the library from its physical setting to an online setting. I am wondering if all librarians need to acquire knowledge, skills, and understanding of this dynamic and technology-oriented information environment, or if the technological changes branch our fields broader and further to more alternatives of interests for the librarian and researchers. I am thinking about factors interplay in this arena – (1) technological changes, (2) communication channels, (3) containers of information, (4) the circulation and/or flow of information (5) users’ (or people’s) activities, needs, and capabilities, (6) the librarian, and, might include, (7) public involvement and library outreaches. Moreover, if technological changes affect people and create a new community, does this circumstance need standards to frame activities people do? I am thinking about the law or a policy for online activities. Do we need them, and if so, how much? How can the librarian help motivate users to participate in a virtual community while promoting values of appropriate online use among users? I am thinking that the promotion of a sense of community and of public involvement to the community in a real setting has already been a difficult task, and it can be much harder in the cyberspace.

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