Thursday, 16 August 2007

Brand librarian

It has been interesting to see the various comments on what we should call everyone. Have a look at the comments on the word of the day and on the post on what to call ourselves and each other.

I think that acceptance of the brand librarian must be a given. There is no alternative, and there is nothing wrong with the brand anyway. We have failed at creating an alternative brand, and our gambit to include the word "information" in everything has not worked. There is also a large amount of accumulated good will in the librarian brand (and the library brand) which we cannot easily recreate for an alternative brand.

But this does not mean that all librarians should have the title librarian. There are many circumstances where we may prefer or be required to use something different, or where it may just make sense, or be to our advantage - just as some accountants are called Chief Financial Officers rather than something with accountant in the name.

I have been thinking of developing some kind of statement with the heading "These people are librarians", or maybe "This is a librarian." It would include a list of people/positions who are really librarians, and a short description. The point is to make it clear to people the scope of the brand, librarian.

For example, I have collected several examples of situations where people have said to me "what we need in this job is a librarian." They were non-librarians, and they were right. These are three pieces of evidence about what OTHER people think are the core skills of a librarian.

The same is true of the term library. People intuitively use the term library in relevant contexts. My posting on the Mousebrain Project indicates that there is public use of the word library which is often right, but wider than ours. A recent example is the Atlas of Living Australia, which is described as "a biodiversity search engine providing access to information held in biological collections in museums and public research institutes across the country" (there is also to be a "mouse phenomics network"). The Atlas is to be affialiated with the Encyclopedia of Life and the Biodiversity Heritage Library. These are digital libraries.

What do you think?

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