Sunday Book-Thought 53

Communication is the process by which culture is developed and maintained. For it is only when people develop language, and thus a way of communicating, that a culture can, in fact, emerge and be imparted. Information, the content of communications, is the basic source of all human intercourse. Over the course of human history, it has been embodied and communicated in an ever expanding variety of media, including among them spoken words, graphics, artifacts, music, dance, written text, film, recordings, and computer hardware and software. Together, these media and the channels through which they are distributed, constitute the web of society, which determine the direction and pace of social development. Seen from this perspective, the communication of information permeates the cultural environment and is essential to all aspects of social life.
– United States Office of Technology Assessment, Intellectual Property Rights in an Age of Electronics and Information (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, April 1986), p. 49.

Sunday Book-Thought 20

Librarianship, as a profession, needs to stop fetishizing books. Sure, they look really nice lined up all pretty on the shelf, and half of us getting into the profession probably did so because we love books, we grew up reading and went to library story time, and we love the smell of books (at least until we start to sneeze). Perhaps we need a new name; perhaps we should all put “information professional” on our business cards because we are no longer simply caretakers of books. We are caretakers of information. And when we focus all our energy on the fraction of information that is contained in books, it’s as if the whole richness of programming to be found in a library can be ignored or reduced to the question of whether, on the way out, someone checked out a book.
The knowledge the person gained at whatever activity he or she participated in does not count because it didn’t come from something with a barcode on it.
Intrinsic motivation: Let’s find what people really war and then put barcodes on that.
R. David Lankes