June 24, 2005

Reference -- a few more thoughts

I was thinking. Maybe one of the things I couldn't imagine is a kind of reference wiki. Maybe my job will be to initiate and manage wiki-like things for our patrons to use. Maybe another of the things I couldn't imagine was using threaded discussion lists for reference interactions. No reason why either of those things couldn't be possible. How about blog-like things or other kinds of social software? I think I was also sort of assuming IM would get sucked up into another service platform and would really be a unique service anymore, but I'm not sure that is what's going to happen. Maybe there are possibilities there too. It's always interesting to think about what you can't imagine.


Anonymous said...

well -- it's funny you should mention wiki's and blogs as the IL committee at York has asked library systems to look into the possibilities with us. I like the idea of places for learner expression on library sites -- much more active ways of learning, and promoting dialogue amongst users. -- Lisa

John Dupuis said...

Lisa, thanks for the comment. I think that it's a great thing that LCS is going to start looking at new ways of engaging our patrons. Don't forget, I'm chair of WRC for the moment...brainstorming is permanently part of our agenda.

As for your comment on the previous post, I'm not sure if you mean, "will reference desks still exist?" or "will people other than librarians staff the reference desks?"

For the first, yes, I do believe reference desks will still exist. Libraries will (I hope) still be places that students will congregate, and where students congregate there will be questions. Will roving (or office consultations) replacing sitting at the desk? Maybe, but it doesn't have to be either/or.

As for who will sit/rove...all these new oportunities for providing reference service basically add a bunch new service points. At the same time, I doubt librarian complements will go up at the same rate, if at all. The logical consequence is that some of these service points will be staffed by non-librarians. Is that the end of the world? I don't think so.