For the last 5 years, my friend Mary Elings from the Bancroft Library and I have made a trip to upstate New York in the summer to teach a one week intensive 3-credit graduate class for the iSchool at Syracuse University (IST677 â Digitization in libraries, archives and museums). Every year, preparing for and teaching the class invites us to pause and reflect on how much has changed in just 12 months in the field of digitizing collections. While the main pillars in the outline of our from-the-cradle-to-the-grave syllabus remain, what we say about each topic changes considerably from year to year. Not surprisingly, we increasingly feel that we need to both impart current practice, while at the same time emphasizing new thinking in the field which challenges business as usual.
Luckily enough, Mary and I as a tag-team are well poised to take on that challenge. Mary predominantly reflects the local point of view of the professional who has to get things done in the here-and-now, while I predominantly reflect a global point of view of somebody who can afford to think about how things should adapt to the realities of our networked information economy. When we quibble, it isn’t just a disagreement, but an educational moment illustrating the times we live in; when it all comes together, it should read like the old bumper sticker as an exhortation to âThink global, act local,â as Mary pointed out to the students.
What follows is an impressionistic glance at the areas where I see a shift in what we talk about in class â in most instances, these are trends which I think will become more pronounced as we continue to teach the class.
In this way, the class acknowledges that established work processes are likely to continue while we explore new ways of serving our audiences. It is a balancing act professionals must manage, whether new to or veterans of the library profession. By bringing these issues to our class, we hope to encourage our students to think of libraries, archives and museums as a field rife with possibilities for those with creative minds!