Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Information Commons

I've been researching the concept of information commons as the library at my college is getting renovated and incorporated into a student commons. This seems an ideal time to rethink some of the services we offer students.

I've come up with a number of good sources listed here:!1pr2LGZRlpMVbTXFcTV1Dpzw!144.entry

The most interesting idea I came across is that an information commons is a concept as well as a physical space. Some have extended the information commons concept to media and politics. I find this extension all a bit confusing, but an interesting idea to think about. The former president of ALA has a bibliography on ALA's information commons blog: I like David Bollier's papers the best out of these links.

In the July/August issue of InformationToday, there is an article on page 17 called "A Library by Any Other Name." The author, Shirley Duglin Kennedy, discusses the label of information commons as it is applied to libraries these days.

She also references the Chronicle article about UT Austin. Kennedy really hits the nail on the head towards the end of the article. What are we doing with these information commons? Are they just 24/7 computer labs that are replacing libraries or are they something more? She wonders why would anybody bother going to an information commons if they can connect from their dorm, home, office, or coffee shop. She questions, "how many will continue to be blissfully unaware of the difference between the Internet and research databases (especially now that Google is in the so-called scholarly realm?)."

I have some ideas of things we can do to reinvigorate my library, but it doesn't include packing up all the books. I think the bad thing about the Chronicle articles about UT are that they can lead smaller institutions into thinking they should also try to copy UT, when they don't really have the same resources, facilities, or collaborators.

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