School of Information Sciences

iSchool Visiting Lectures


Friday, October 14, 2011
11:30 am - 12:00 noon
Room 501 IS Building

Sheila M. Corrall, Professor & Chair in Librarianship and Information Management, Information School, The University of Sheffield, UK

Libraries and Librarians in the Network World - Defining our Value Proposition

Abstract: Social, technological, economic and political forces are challenging the position of libraries and librarians as information providers. Easy access to the web at home, from the desktop and on the move has made Google and Amazon preferred sources for information seekers and book readers. Professions are changing, new boundary-spanning micro-specialties are emerging and other knowledge workers are moving into the territory of library and information professionals. The trends are well-established. We need to argue the case for our own profession in different ways. An intellectual capital perspective can help us to define the value added by information specialists and present our service offerings distinctively as bottom-line indicators and compelling stories for stakeholders. An extended version of the standard three-fold framework can articulate the informational, structural, relational and human assets represented by information service organizations. The thread running through the areas examined is the need to elevate activities to the network level in order to manage the messy complexity of the fast-paced pluralist settings in which information professionals operate. The situation calls for seamless integration of local and global information resources, requiring interactive strategic planning at the supra-organisational level and more concerted efforts at building and managing relationships, in turn necessitating competency development for strategic alliances and partnership working. The network paradigm needs to be adopted more convincingly by libraries and librarians to develop a meaningful professional identity in 21st Century society. Educational curricula and research agenda need to be shaped accordingly.


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