week 1 (july 24): identity

First topic for July 24 – Start with today…

Who are we as librarians?

Are we having an identity crisis?

Can we re-establish our identity?

What are the new and old definitions of who we are?

What are our core values?

What are we starting with?

Where are we starting from?

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One Comment on “week 1 (july 24): identity”

  1. Lilian Hoffecker Says:

    Who are we as medical librarians? The Darien statement and others like it are appropriate value statments for many librarians (including medical librarians) but we differ from others in my opinion because of the nature of the information we provide. Unlike librarians of other disciplines (not to diminish their contributions of course), health information providers can influence decision makers in ways that can literally have life and death consequences. So our role is especially important and needs to be communicated to stakeholders as such. I emphasize that it’s the people and how they use the resources (not just the resources themselves), who can make very crucial differences in health care and health research decisions.

    But to convince our users of our value we have to prove ourselves to them and that means acquiring or building our expertise, i.e., being the experts, not merely information gatekeepers. Here are a few interrelated points.

    – It’s not enough to be good Medline searchers. We need instead to be expert health information searchers by knowing many databases (which today can be very specialized) including grey literature sources, and also by having connections to other librarian experts (e.g., the law, business, or engineering librarian). We need to outdo Google.
    – We should keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the information industry including IT, publishing, and communications, and the health care industry.
    – With constant change, our users’ needs change too. To keep up, we should conduct community assessments on a regular basis.
    – We need to organize information in a way that allows the user to find information intuitively. This requires knowledge and expertise that no casual social tagger for example is ever going to have.
    – As we teach our users how to use library resources, we also need to stay ahead of them. That means constant learning ourselves and teaching one another.

    I guess my point in short is that we need to let our users know that we can do health information provision far better, faster, more easily than they can.

    Thanks for this forum. Looking forward to the discussion.


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