Welcome to Online Insider ...
... the editorial blog by Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. ONLINE Insider intends to extend the reach of the print publication, presenting a more timely commentary on the products, people, and events that shape today's online world. It explores new technologies as they impact the working lives of information professionals, explains resources for specific topic areas, and expounds on information management tools and techniques.

Misconceptions About Librarians

Marydee Ojala @ 9:06 am

Some things never change. The general public has no idea what librarians do. Nor do they understand that everyone who works in a library isn’t a qualified librarian. Although amongst ourselves, we talk about this, we know it’s much harder to get the word out to those who aren’t librarians. This Atlantic piece should help.

The author, Derek Thompson, who is on Twitter as @DKThomp, asked librarians to submit their views on what the misconceptions are about librarians, what they “don’t get about working in a library.”

I particularly like Librarian #2, who said “I do research, I teach classes, I catalog, I develop our collection, I work on our website, I fix computers. I am an aggregator, a citation machine, a curator, a specialist in whatever it is you want to know about.” Sounds like a solo librarian.

This is a fantastic opportunity for librarians to move outside the echo chamber and explain the many facets of modern librarianship. Atlantic is really widely read. I’d like to believe that ONLINE has the same number of readers, but I know that’s not true!

Not that librarians haven’t explained to non-librarians before what we really do, but it’s an ongoing activity, if we want to bring the perceptions of our profession into the 21st century.

I’m intrigued that, of the librarians who contacted Thompson, none mentioned the idea of embedded librarians, which I think will become more key to our professional advancement than ever going forward. I’m delighted that David Shumaker, the expert on this, will be giving a pre-conference on the topic at WebSearch University. I wish I could attend, but I scheduled my business research pre-conference at the same time. Bad me.

ProQuest Adds Expert Information

Marydee Ojala @ 2:07 pm

ProQuest has just announced its acquisition of U.K.-based Expert Information, publishers of Index to Theses and Theses.com. Expert Information was founded in 1986 by Monty Hyams (founder of Derwent and “father of the patent family”) and Roger Bilboul (Chairman of the Board of Information Today).

The theses properties of Expert Information contain half a million citations and abstracts for British and Irish dissertations and master’s theses. They span 70 years and add about 20,000 records per year.

This certainly fits well with ProQuest’s dissertation publishing program. Remember, ProQuest evolved out of University Microfilms, which had dissertations as a major part of its business. ProQuest’s Dissertations & Theses is designated by the Library of Congress as the official archive of American dissertations and includes almost all North American dissertations. ProQuest was already a distributor of the Expert Information databases, under the title PQDT: U.K. & Ireland.

It’s good to see positive international growth in ProQuest’s electronic dissertation publishing endeavors.

Alert Publications Alert

Marydee Ojala @ 1:33 pm

Alert Publications Inc., owned by Donna Tuke, has decided to stop publishing its two newsletters: Business Information Alert and Legal Information Alert.

Legal Information Alert was published for 30 years, Business Information Alert for 21. I’ve written for both of them and considered them important publications for information professionals. The archive will be online with HeinOnline and possibly other hosts as well.

From now on, Alert Publications will concentrate on publishing reports and books for the legal and business information professional market. We at ONLINE wish Donna and her company all the best.

European Monument Photos

Marydee Ojala @ 2:50 pm

This looks like fun. Wiki Loves Monuments, a photo contest organized by Wikipedia, invites people to take, upload, and share photos of monuments located in 17 European countries during the month of September 2011. Europeana has announced that is is a sponsor for one of the 12 prizes for best photo and is offering a special competition and award for a photo of an Art Nouveau monument.

I’m unclear on two points. If I’m not a resident of one of the European countries, does a photo of a monument in one of the countries still qualify? Are libraries monuments? If they’re counting parks and archaeological sites, I’m assuming libraries count.

If some good photos of libraries surface, maybe we can show them during Internet Librarian International! That would be even more fun.

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