Thursday, June 23, 2005

Coming out of the woodwork

I've been noticing lately just how progressive librarians are. It gives me a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside every time I see evidence of this phenomenon.

FRBR is a good example. A colleague of mine recently described FRBR as a "religion," and I think that's not entirely untrue. But I'm increasingly seeing rank-and-file librarians (not just us "digital" folks or special collections librarians who do things "differently" anyways, according to one popular perception) show an interest in it. These folks commonly just want to learn what it is and what it can do for them. They aren't interested in jumping on a bandwagon just to be there. Rather, they genuinely want to evaluate for themselves the value of the model to them and their users. Sure, there are now and will always be extremists on both sides of the issue. I know librarians who want nothing to do with FRBR, and I know others who insist nothing from today's bibliographic control practices will be of any use in five years. But thankfully most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

I see huge numbers of librarians willing to talk about their ideas, even if they represent a departure at some small or vast level from current practice. I see huge numbers of librarians taking analytical approaches to solving real access problems they deal with every day. I see huge numbers of librarians keeping the overall goals of access and preservation of intellectual output foremost in their minds as they look for solutions. I see huge numbers of librarians having lively, interesting, professional discussions about options for achieving these goals. I love my job.

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