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May 2001, Week 2


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Cathy Wolfson <[log in to unmask]>
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Cathy Wolfson <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 May 2001 14:44:56 -0700
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> Another list I'm on just sent this provocative article link to me.
> After reading it, I think many of us are something in between.  What do
> *you* think?
> Debbie

I agree that many of us are something in between.  Probably varies with
the person and the setting.

This type of thing is an area that we librarians need to do more of.  I
work in an academic setting.  My colleagues and I are looking at ways of
more aggressively promoting ourselves and getting the word out that we can
save time for others in the organization.  We have considered a pilot
project offering clinical librarian services to one of the departments. We
are considering software which permits realtime electronic reference
service, and perhaps offering this library to the worldwide stable of
libraries which the Library of Congress is offering for reference service

Many people have some comfort level in searching for information and think
they don't need us any more.  On the contrary, with the ever-burgeoning
mass of information and the proliferation of databases, e-journals, and
other electronic information sources, they need us more than ever.  But
it's up to us to get the word out in a way that piques their interest.

Here in the academic setting we need to persuade our faculty to let us do
office visits to consult with them.  To use us much more greatly as
consultants who will do the literature searching for them so they can
concentrate on their research and teaching.  We can even serve in an
intermediary role between researchers in different fields who otherwise
might never learn of each other's work.

In the hospital setting librarians could act more similarly to this
"competitive intelligence agent".  Offering taylored information and
alerts to hospital CEOs, but also to health deliverers, physicians,
nurses, etc.  (All of this in your spare time, of course.)

I wasn't sure if the article was intended seriously or not.  If it is, it
hosed me off seriously.  This guy was vastly underestimating what we
librarians already do.  And if the article is serious, we librarians have
to become much more proactive and not let others take over our roles, call
themselves something fancy, and get paid a lot more for doing what I
suspect would be a less thorough job.

My 2 cents.


Catherine L. Wolfson                        Health Sciences Library
Information Services Librarian              University of Arizona
[log in to unmask]                   1501 N. Campbell Ave.
Tel:  520-626-2927                          P.O. Box 245079
Fax:  520-626-2922                          Tucson, AZ  85724-5079