Saturday, March 24, 2007

Staying out of it, for now

Inquiring Librarian has seen only tumbleweeds coming through recently. Various professional and personal challenges recently have put blogging on the back burner for me—challenges of the sort we all face from time to time. I’m woefully behind on blog, mailing list, and professional literature reading as well. As I’m starting to wade through some of what I’ve missed, I’m seeing a boiling-up of issues related to cataloging practice and its future in number of different forums.

Many of the discussions are ebbing to the point where it doesn’t make sense for me to weigh in, but even if they weren’t, my inclination is to sit back and watch rather than participate. Perhaps I’m a bit disillusioned thinking that my words will have very little impact. I’m glad the discussion is ongoing, and I still believe that most people out there are reasonable, and can behave themselves while engaging in professional discourse. But many of the current discussions have taken on an “us vs. them” bent, and when that happens I tend to stay away, avoiding situations where emotions and stereotypes start getting in the way of dialogue.

I am sad for feeling this way, but we all must make decisions about how best to spend our precious time. I believe I have a great deal to offer these discussions, particularly in expanding their scope beyond just “catalogs” to the types of digital library systems I’m involved with building and with types of materials not well-served by the MARC/AACR2/LCSH/etc. suite that’s the main focus of these discussions. I’ll probably post some thoughts to this blog (please do comment – I’m not afraid of discussion overall!) but for now I feel the time and intellectual investment of communicating in some of these other forums is best left to others. I’m hoping my aversion to participation is temporary, and that as I get caught up both with others thoughts and my own, I’m able to jump back into the community. See you soon.