Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Saturday, February 28, 2004
'The Great Divide'  
Will there be a need for libraries/librarians in the future, asks Barbara Quint. Her argument is that improved access to electronic information will obviate the need for libraries, especially if the open access movement is successful, and end-users no longer require libraries to purchase expensive scholarly journals.

There's a fair bit of truth in this, in my opinion. But I can still see a role for librarians. I work in a small, quasi-government agency. Many of the information sources I use are freely available. Those that aren't could be made available to our staff even if I didn't work there. So how do I add value? I filter. I do current awareness, and it isn't rocket science, but I can strip out the useful information from a mass of data, and get it to the right people. So they don't need to know about blogs or RSS or Google's advanced search or PubMed. I do all that, they use the information. I locate. I can find information faster than they can - and because I know where to look, the other 60 people on our staff don't need to know.

And that's what I'll be doing in the future, whether or not the information sources are free. Saving the time of the reader, basically.


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