Friday, December 7, 2007

Impress Your Professor: Virtual Reference as Lesson

In the December/January Bulletin, Joseph Janes discusses the history of digital/virtual/electronic reference. While the majority of the article simply recaps the growth of technology and how it has affected the reference interaction, Janes does raise some rather interesting questions.

Early in the article, he states how many libraries and their librarians have jumped at the chance to try out new technological resources in their library. But he also adds a cautionary statement: "With scarce time and resources, however, it is not prudent, not to mention maddening and counterproductive, to be forever chasing new technologies." An interesting perspective to say the least, but how does one determine the good and useful technologies from the bad? While it is certainly not prudent to chase all technologies, I would argue that we librarians can't wait around forever. That Golden Idol of Reference Technology Greatness is not going to arrive with our morning cup of coffee. We have to go out and find it ourselves.

Librarianship, in all it's forms, is about looking - looking for the answer, looking for a book, and looking for that new technology or resource that helps our patrons find the information they need. The art of reference has undergone numerous changes and will certainly undergo more in the future. Who knew that one day the ideal of the ancient library of Alexandria might become a digital reality? Technological change is not something to be afraid - it should be embraced whole heartedly.

I'm reminded of an interview I conducted earlier this year for class paper. My interviewee was a reference librarian at a local public library. She had many things to say and I learned more than I had anticipated, but one statement has stood out in my mind more than any other: "Do you learn or are you trained?"

If nothing else, librarians are life long learners. They take a new experience (or technology) and learn from it - then they teach others.

On that note, this will be the last Impress Your Professor for the year. Good luck to everyone with the end of the semester and Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Last Day to Register

Please join us for a social networking dinner! This is the perfect opportunity to learn about other information professional organizations in our area! Details are below.

What: Social Networking: Information Professionals Meeting other Information Professionals
Thursday, December 13th at 6pm-?

: : Zack's Taverna, 305 Pennsylvania Ave, SE (Capitol South-Blue or Orange line)

Pay for your own food or beverage

: : via Survey Monkey by Thursday, December 6, 2007

Click HERE for menu information.

To learn more about ASIS&T, ARL Diversity Initiatives , and REFORMA, please read below.

has been the society for information professionals leading the search for new and better theories, techniques, and technologies to improve
access to information. The local professional Chapter, the Potomac Valley Chapter of ASIS&T, has members are primarily located in Washington DC, Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland.

To learn more about PVC-ASIST, please contact Jeff Prater at

is a nonprofit organization of
123 research libraries at comprehensive, research-extensive institutions in the US and Canada that share similar research missions, aspirations, and achievements. The Association's importance and distinction is born from its membership and the nature of the institutions represented. ARL member libraries make up a large portion of the academic and research library marketplace, spending more than $1 billion every year on library materials. To learn more about ARL Diversity Initiatives, contact Jerome Offord Jr. at

i is committed to working toward the recruitment of bilingual, multicultural library personnel; promoting public awareness of libraries and librarianship among Latinos; advocating on behalf of the information needs of the Latino community; developing Spanish-language and Latino-oriented library collections; and acting as a liaison to other professional organizations. REFORMA is an affiliate of the American Library Association.

If you are interested in learning more about REFORMA, please contact the DC-REFORMA Chapter Secretary, Michelle Hinojosa Melencio, at

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

YouTube Tuesday

Since it is crunch time, instead of our usual "smart" video and "fun video, we present you with two "study break videos." Enjoy and good luck with the rest of the semester!