Earlier this month I was lucky enough to attend the enormous, international Frankfurt book fair, as I was a panellist for Elsevier’s Hot Spot discussion on the future of library science and the data-librarian. I highly recommend the opportunity & experience, as the Elsevier staff really looked after their speakers and I got to meet not only my fellow panellists but also some of the audience who came and introduced themselves at the “hot spot cafe” immediately after our discussion.
The session itself was filmed, and there was a professional photographer there (I have permission to use these official pictures), so I’m sure you’ll find out more about it over on Elsevier’s website: watch the LibraryConnect section! Our basic panel structure was that we were asked questions by Elsevier’s Noelle Gracy, which came from the community in advance.
What did we cover?
Well, I didn’t get to take notes as well as to talk(!) so I can tell you what I had prepared to say, and what I remember, one week after the event! Here are some nutshell points:
- The future of library science encompasses more than just data librarianship, of course!
- Librarians may find that adding skills with data to their CV opens up more job opportunities in the future.
- Librarians offer a lot to the data community, not least their professional ethics & knowledge of legal expectations, which of course is covered in the module I teach to KCL/Humboldt University’s MA Digital Curation students.
Librarians also have:
- ability to describe items/create valuable metadata records
- connections with all disciplines across campus (& library building is often central too)
- experience of assessing quality and significance for collection management
- skills in training & informing others
- It’s certainly not all about technical skills: Dr Schnelling was very clear about that point, as I believe it was his question, about what skills future librarians need. But of course there are some technical skills that will help if you are working with data. Especially when considering preservation needs.
- One easy way to begin familiarising yourself with data management issues, is to look at data management plans, and what they involve.
If you were there, then maybe you can share some more highlights of the talk by leaving a comment, below. I will also blog here again about some of my other top sights from the fair: after the talk, I went around many of the stalls, looking for things specifically German. Of course, it was an international fair, so I found an awful lot more. I will end here with a final photograph of the audience for our panel session. If you were there, then thanks for coming!