Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What I Would Like in a Corporate Library System

How well do you know your librarians? I think I know the ones in my organization quite well. As has been my experience all the way back to high school, librarians are a wealth of knowledge, and not just about subjects and collections, but often what is "going on" in the organization. And they're pretty terrific people too.

If you'd like to have an interesting conversation, bring a book on a general business topic back to the front desk and ask, "Can you tell me the names of the last 20 people who borrowed this book? I'd like to talk with them about their thoughts on the book, what they learned from it, and how they are thinking about applying what they learned to their work context."

That type of question is typically met with "We can't give you that information! That's personal / private!"

So, this scenario started me thinking about what I would like to see in a library system or related functionality. Here's what I've come up with so far:

  • see who else is interested in particular topics based on the books/ articles / references they access
  • find out (discover & ask) what they thought of the books, what they learned
  • use this information to tap into / form a community / discussion group about the book/article/reference or general topic area
  • maintain a compose a "wish list" of what I'd like to read, share it with others, and have library acquisitions teams automatically acquire access to popular requests based on popularity/frequency across multiple lists
  • have a personal list of books / resources accessed / read / currently reading that I could share
  • find out who is reading what now
  • easily generate automatic bibliographic references for writing papers/reports/documents etc.
  • include, and share (aggregate) references in a different context (e.g. on a blog/wiki etc.) for all external/internal, reference links, documents, presentations, graphics, photos, podcasts, video clips, charts etc.
  • access an organized / grouped subset of these in various contexts (general responsibilities, projects, communities etc.)
  • have references suggested to me based on identified interests roles / responsibilities / activities, existing references, interactions with others, search patterns etc.
  • "references" I define here as quality, relevant links / actual content of all types, in internal systems, library collections, external / 3rd party collections & content, blogs, news media, social media, etc.

I suppose this list is a bit like Amazon meets LibraryThing, meets EndNote, meets Delicious, meets Slideshare, meets RSS, meets Facebook etc.


Suresh Nair said...

Yes Librarian are interesting people. But what we are doing about it?
Most of the Corporate Libraries I have seen are understaffed and loaded are loaded with work. You have more than 200-300 people to serve a day - they take work from one and all. Its unfortunate we the top management doesn't give the due weightage what they deserve.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Librarians, and how their role seems to be evolving, are and will continue to be essential in knowledge-based organizations.