LAMs – A work in progress

I continue to spend a lot of my time moving forward our project of investigating library, archive and museum relationships in campus environments – we’ve settled on a short-list of institutions to visit (I’ll disclose the list once all visits are confirmed), and Ricky, Diane Zorich and I are continuing to do some hard thinking about how we’d like to spend our day with a group of LAM professionals. We’re also getting some perspective from community though-leaders like Chris Batt, Margaret Hedstrom, Cliff Lynch and Bob Martin – we talked to Chris last week, and are looking forward to a call with Bob Cliff and Margaret tomorrow.

I am starting to draft the scene-setting presentation for our visits, and my goal is to introduce language which can be used as a “tool” during the day’s discussion. Here’s one of the tools I think we’ll try to use:

LAMs are operating under specific circumstances which might be more or less conducive to integration and collaboration. These circumstances could be characterized along the lines of Lawrence Lessig’s modalities of constraint [pdf]: law, norms, market, and architecture. The list below extrapolates these constraints to the kinds of forces which might influence LAM behavior:

  • Law – e.g. what your administration tells you (mandate)
  • Norms – e.g. what your community’s rules dictate (work culture / tradition)
  • Market – e.g. what your audience is telling you (users) / your bottom line (funding)
  • Architecture – e.g. what your physical and technological infrastructure allows and supports (infrastructure)

This list can be used to analyze the present environment of an institution, and identify at which level interventions would most effectively bring about desired changes towards better integration among LAMs. Rather than dwell on obstacles, I hope that introducing this perspective will allow us to focus on how to effect desired change rather than be stiffled by unfavorable circumstances.

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