Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Library Camp Ireland 25/5/2013

I attended library camp Ireland (#irelibcamp) last Saturday. I met a few new and not so new faces, but the atmosphere was energized and lots of ideas were discussed and exchanged.
The two sessions that I attended were:

Tell me the truth about MARC: proposed by John Mc Manus( @johnmac38 )


The qualification is it worth it; presented by Emmett Keoghan. 

Tell me the truth about MARC:

This session proved that even 50 years after it's conception most of the profession are scared to discuss it!!! John did a mammoth task of outlining the current debate and prompting input from attendees, but most seemed reticent to participate, whether through perceived lack of familiarity with the topic, reluctance to criticize what is one of the key tools of the cataloguer's trade, or sheer panic at the implications of replacing it for any library. 

One thing is for sure, the debate needs to happen, and soon before a solution is imposed from without the discipline through inertia on our part. So well done to John for try to tease a discussion out of a clearly tramatized audience.

Topics put to the camp

The qualification is it worth it:

This was an open and frank discussion about expectations and reality within the profession and it's new members. It was outlined that the LAI are to audit SILS and DBS next year, and are looking for input into the process from members.

Discussion key points: 

  • Core modules were discussed, and what they should be. 
  • Concern was expressed with the perceived dumbing down of the cataloguing and classification modules, in favour of more fashionable topics, while they are still an important product of the profession. 
  • Business management versus more academic topics was another key discussion. (Topics such as:project management, writing policies, how to read a spreadsheet, budget management, etc) and how best to deliver these skills. 
  • The capstone project was proposed as a useful approach for combining the skills learnt during the duration of the course and exercising them in a practical environment. 
  • Module variety was also discussed, in addition to the idea of having more modules with greater variety over a two year period. 
  • Research methods were argued to be core to what we do, as they should give us skills to support or users information needs. 
  • Work placement during the course was brought up as a possibility to be considered. 
  • It was felt that copyright in and of itself could be a topic for a module on it's own. 
  • Recent students would have liked more lab time, but recognized the SILS resources were a limiting factor in this
  • Creating clearly identified career orientated paths for incoming students was also discussed. (For example, clearly identify core modules of relevance to the Academic, Solo, Systems, Cataloguing, Public, Childrens Librarian, allowing more focused study). 
I stand to be corrected on any of the above, these being only my own gleanings from the sessions!!!

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