Meeting on the ledge

(or why I don't get out much…..)

Modelling the Library Domain workshop

I went along to the JISC ‘Modelling the Library Domain workshop last Friday (19th June) at the IET on the Embankment in London. it was a useful day, as I don’t often get the opportunity to stand back and look at what we’re doing and how it fits in with the changing world around us. That was the value of the model that we spent most of the day discussing, as it gives us a tool to do this.  It’s complex, so I won’t try to explain it in detail here – go to the project website and have a look at their papers to get a better idea than I could give you. However as a broad outline,  they see our business revolving around 3 ‘realms’ and their interactions:

  • The Corporation is the organisations involved in the administration of knowledge assetts
  • The Channel is the means by which these knowledge assetts are delivered to
  • The Client, the person who accesses this information

I had difficulty with the word ‘Corporation’, as this is rather a ‘loaded’ concept with an Orwellian shadow, but I think there is value in splitting it up from the Channel with which it is normally combined as ‘the information service’. Increasingly in a Web 2.0/ Library 2.0 world we are only responsible for some of these Channels, which Clients want to use in their own ways, as combined iGoogle feeds, Facebook portals or whatever. I also have reservations on whether this model could be used in discussion with people outside the normal library sphere, as it might seem over-complex even though it is valuable in breaking conventional ideas of what libraries ‘do’.

For me as a practical person, the best part of the day was in the afternoon when we came to look at how the model worked in the context of some of the changes that are proposed or already happening in the information environment, such as sector-wide licensing for eresources or the avoidance of local cataloguing by using a single central bibliographic database. The model helped in understanding the perspectives of the different elements and how they would change as a result.

In a practical session which came as a welcome change to the theory, Dave Pattern gave a paper on his work using several years of data on user searches in his OPAC. I suppose this could be a demonstration of how the Client uses a Channel which then has influence on the Corporation, as there was a great deal of useful information on how users make use of the OPAC, with detail down to individual courses. This could then influence the Corporations relationship with the Client, thus going the full loop. Of course if libraries are to benefit from the sort of potential Dave is showing, we need more people with his creativity, instead of cutting back on library IT staff like some libraries (no names, but you know who you are!).

Past, present and future

Past, present and future

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June 22, 2009 - Posted by | Libraries

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