Current Cites

January 2018

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Peter Hirtle, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant

Beard, David. "Tale of 2 Polls: What do Librarians Have That Journalists Don't?The Poynter Institute  (19 January 2018)( - It turns out that the answer to the question in the title of this piece is trustworthiness. Citing a poll by the Knight Foundation and Gallup, only 33 percent of Americans have a positive view of the news media. They then contrast that with a Pew Research poll which found that 78 percent of Americans say librarians help them to find trustworthy and reliable information. The percentage is even higher among young adults, ages 18-35 (a whopping 87%). The article then cites reasons such as engagement with the community, interaction with libraries from a young age, and other potential reasons for this high level of trust. Librarians, it turns out, are doing something right when it comes to building trust in their communities. - RT

Bethune, Brian. "How Public Libraries are Reinventing Themselves for the 21st CenturyMaclean's Magazine  (25 January 2018)( - This is a refreshingly clear-eyed view of the modern public library. Although focused on Canadian libraries, this piece could just as easily been about public libraries in most countries of the world. "The old clichés simply don’t work with the contemporary library," the author asserts, "No, it’s not your grandfather’s library—for Baby Boomers, it’s not even the library of their childhood, let alone the library most predictions imagined 20 years ago." Despite claims that libraries would fall to the Internet juggernaut, they have come back even stronger by paying attention to the needs of their communities. Who knew? Well, we did, certainly, but it's nice to know that some of the same outlets that trumpeted opinion pieces about our demise are noticing that not only have we not disappeared, but we've become stronger and more resilient. - RT

Clarke, Rachel Ivy. "Toward a Design Epistemology for LibrarianshipThe Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy  88(1)(January 2018): 41 - 59. ( - Looking at librarianship from a design perspective, rather than a social science approach, opens up a world of possibilities. Librarians are constantly trying to solve problems of practice, and the argument here is that thinking of our work as being in the field of design may serve us better than thinking of it as information “science.” We often require resolutions for situations that fit into the definition of “wicked” problems: “unique, constantly changing problems that have no single correct solution.” Librarians cannot always find solutions through research-based social science methods. A design epistemology offers us a more creative way to approach our work. Design techniques such as framing and re-framing problems, employing the repertoire of solutions held by librarian designers, and using design criteria for evaluation give us new ways in to our wicked problems. Design methods such as defining a problem and proposing theoretical solutions for testing, and partial solutions, can “lead to larger, overall solutions” for complex problems. Embracing a design epistemology would require major changes, especially in the training of librarians. But it would be worth it if it truly allowed libraries, as claimed, “to remain relevant in rapidly changing environments, and to be successful in the face of future challenges.” - NN

Kaufman, Peter B. Towards a New Audiovisual Think Tank for Audiovisual Archivists and Cultural Heritage Professionals  Hilversum, NL: Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, January 2018.( - It is natural to assume that a white paper on the problems of audiovisual archiving would focus on issues of media obsolescence and inadequate funding. In this white paper for the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision, Peter Kaufman does a bit of that. He is much more interested, however, in stressing the social, political, and cultural importance of archiving. Archivists, Kaufman argues, are fulfilling "urgent and giant social mandates and imperatives to remember, for today and for tomorrow" when they capture, create, and preserve the human record. "The centrality of the power of the archive," he suggests, " is likely to be the story of the 21st century. While Kaufman's ten recommendations for future research and action in the field of audiovisual archiving are interesting, the context in which he bases his recommendation is much broader and should be of continuing interest to all cultural stewards. - PH

Ogier, Andrea L., and Michael J.  Stamper. "Data Visualization as a Library Service: Embedding Visualization Services in the Library Research LifecycleJournal of eScience Librarianship  7(1)(2018): e1126. ( - Data visualization support is becoming an increasingly important service in research libraries. This paper examines such an emerging service at the Virginia Tech University Libraries. In 2016, a Data Visualization Designer was hired in the Libraries' Informatics Lab. Since then, the importance of establishing clear service expectations, the need for careful evaluation of using open source vs. proprietary software, and teaching clients how to "fish" (as in "teach a man to fish") have been some key lessons learned. The paper overviews the data visualization design consultation process, and then illustrates this process with two case studies. - CB