Zo’n bibliotheekdirecteur willen we allemaal wel.

19 juli 2015

Lekker! Het artikel Selecting The Next Librarian of Congress slingert me weer even terug naar de tijd van bijdragen als Bibliothecaris 2.0, een manifest in beeld en geluid en Bibliotheek 2.0: 24 stellingen om bij stil te staan. Yup, we hebben het hier over 2006 en 2007. Waar gaat dit dan over? Welnu: na vele jaren is de Library of Congress op zoek naar een nieuwe directeur. En ze willen nu graag eens iemand die niet alleen per fax communiceert. Wat voor mensch zoekt men dan wel? Jessamyn West somt het even op voor The Message. Om een of andere reden klinkt het allemaal als zeer redelijk, maar tegelijkertijd weinig realistisch. Ik bedoel: bibliotheken waar dit soort dingen de prioriteit hebben, die komen er toch niet echt van tot op heden.

  • We don’t need you to blog or tweet or Instagram necessarily but we do need you to engage with people using technology appropriate to the decade we are in. Billington was famous for communicating via fax and not-so-privately railing against the internet. Don’t be that guy.
  • We don’t need you to overhaul copyright law immediately, but we’d like there to be movement in the direction of reasonable copyright reform.The Digital Millennium Copyright Act exceptions that you alone are responsible for impact tech culture in significant ways and should be expanded and more frequently issued. Explaining why this provision exists and why it is important should be part of your advocacy work. We need you to support us as we advocate for fair use and help us overcome the chilling effects of decades of government-supported copyright menacing. There have been tentative steps in this direction; we’d like to see them continue and progress.
  • We don’t expect you to make all your digital content available online for free, but we would like you to share as much content as possible within the limits of the law. You can advocate for the positive societal benefits of this sharing for cultural heritage institutions and rights holders. I’d like every search at the Library of Congress’s web site to allow me to limit results to “things I can get my hands on” or “orphan works” or “items allowed for non-commercial reproduction.” Information and knowledge created with public funds such as Congressional Research Service reports should be made available to the public, who paid for them.
  • We don’t need you to build sexy data visualizations of all the statistics you log and track (though it would be nice) but we’d love it if these datasets would be made available to journalists and researchers. It would be great to see the LoC as a leader in the Open Access movement — encouraging people to share scholarship in ways that are digital, online, free of charge and favorably licensed. Offering API-based access to your metadata and your data would aid in this knowledge discovery. Again, some of this is happening, we’d like to see more.
  • We don’t need you to have a library degree, but it would be a bonus if you come from a tradition of scholarship, one that understands the significance scholarship to the history of the library profession. We’d like the library to be a good place to work. We haven’t had a trained librarian in the position in forty years, to us that matters.
  • We don’t need you to handle everything immediately, but we would like to know what you’re going to do about the 31 recommendations from the Government Accountability Office’s report published in March. We’d like a permanent Chief Information Officer hired who has real authority to fix some of the Library’s IT weaknesses. We would like to know the plan for processing and managing the immense backlog of cataloging and material processing that has been piling up. We’d like to see the Kluge Prize awarded again.