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The Work

Page history last edited by Joe Grobelny 9 years, 8 months ago

My desire to do interdisciplinary work comes out of my frustrations with librarianship as a

profession and my love of an already wide-ranging field, the humanities. Librarianship’s

academic literature is now dominated by the scientific perspective. While this is not bad in itself,

it has brought up many questions as to how librarians are different from computer programmers,

information scientists, sociologists or marketers. Just the other day I saw a blog comment that

since “librarians don’t do math,” which “leaves the profession with humanities research.” In the

author’s mind humanities research is “not progressive,” and as a result the profession was stuck

because humanities research is “reflective,” not “progressive.”1 While it is important not to take

blog comments too seriously, there is a large identity crisis in librarianship2, and the comment

brought up a significant issue: the demand for more technical knowledge, while displacing the

traditional role of curator for that of information provider. Since technologies tend to evolve

through combinatorial evolution,3 the last twenty years of development have been an evolution

of those tools and their accompanying know-how. With the rise of the Internet as a central

medium of information exchange that is dominated by corporate interests, the library tends to

get overshadowed by its technological functions, which are mediated by library vendors. The

profession is increasingly directed by outside interests, and is ceding its central beliefs to them

instead of redefining itself on its own terms. I am interested in why this is happening and finding

a way out of the position in which we find ourselves.

 

What interests me more is library philosophy: the study of the aims and justifications of

librarianship.4 Current library research largely addresses the question of “what is going on”

in libraries today, but often it fails to address the more difficult question of why. Information

communication technology has had a massive impact on how scholars today read, write

and teach, and without understanding these changes, libraries will be forever reacting to the

information environment rather than helping to shape it. In his article “Critical Information

Literacy,”5 James Elmborg makes the case that the role of librarianship, “moving from service

provider to active educator challenges librarians and library educators to develop new

guiding philosophies.” He outlines a helpful course of correction based on critical literacy,

whereby “librarians need to define information itself as the product of socially negotiated

epistemological processes and the raw material for the further making of new knowledge.”

 

The broad topic that interested me the most at ATLAS was the studying the impact of the

networked information age on scholarly communication and as a result on libraries. Since

libraries are affected by many disciplines, a study of libraries requires a multi-disciplinary

approach to be able to talk about the full range of issues. In the Ph.D. program in Technology,

Media and Society, I would like to study and research across the disciplines of History,

Communications, Marketing, Education, Arts, and Computer Science to develop an informed

understanding for the new primary discourse of of librarianship, focusing on scholarly

communication. Here are some of the course I would like to take in my effort to develop a

critical information literacy outside of the traditional library discourse:

 

Marketing- How has marketing been co-opted into the educational system and how

does that impact scholarly communication? How has the use of marketing in Internet

communication technology changed our institutions?

 

MKTG 7820 (3). Doctoral Seminar: Sociological and Anthropological Approaches to Research in

Market.

Inquires into substantive and methodological issues concerning postmodern consumer

research. Attains depth in a few areas while also providing a framework in which to situate other

substreams of research. Uses ethnography, semiotics, literary analysis, and other interpretive

methods to examine topics such as brand and store loyalty, atmospheric and shopping

dynamics, creation of brand meanings, and other marketplace behaviors.

 

Art and New Media- Art is at the forefront of exploring communication, especially when

it comes to new media. And understanding of the history of these two is essential to

understanding our audial and visual language today.

 

ARTS 4316 (3). History and Theory of Digital Art.

Explores the history and theory of digital art. Discussion topics include the emergence of

Internet art, hypertext, new media theory, online exhibitions, web publishing, virtual reality, and

the networked interface. Includes collaborative and individual projects. Prereq., ARTS 2126 or

instructor consent. Same as ARTS 5316.

 

Computer Science and Systems - How does the design of Internet communication

technology influence it use? This question is at the heart of my research.

 

CSCI 4412 (3). Design, Creativity, and New Media.

Explores the design of new media and technologies to support design and creativity. Analyzes

design and creativity as human activities of fundamental importance in the networked

information culture and economy. Provides theoretical and practical analysis of new media.

Instructor consent required. Recommended prereq., CSCI 3002. Instructor consent required.

Same as

 

SYST 5040-3, Digital Business Strategies TLEN 5140: Digital Business Strategies

Digital refers to the diverse range of emerging disruptive technologies in the media, internet,

telecommunications, and e-Business fields. Focuses on an understanding of the skills, tools,

business concepts, and strategic and entrepreneurial opportunities, as well as managerial and

social issues that surround the emergence of these technologies. Topics involve cases and

breaking new stories. Same as SYST 5040.

 

Legal Studies - With the consolidation of publishing companies, the Google Books

project, the opening of Government 2.0, and the increased use of cloud-based computing

in higher education, librarians will need a much deeper understanding of how technology

and society are influenced by the law, and how the law reflects the world around it.

 

LAWS 7361 (2). Privacy, Security, and Digital Rights Management.

Introduces students to the laws that regulate the basic technologies of the Internet and the

management of information in the digital age. It examines the most significant statutes,

regulations, and common law principles that comprise this emerging legal framework, including

the Federal Wiretap Act, the HIPAA Privacy Rule, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

 

LAWS 8341 (3). Seminar: Law and Economics of the Information Age.

Examines basic regulatory and legal challenges of our information economy and digital age.

Emphasizes the ""Networked"" information industries, the proper role of ""Unbundling"" policies

to advance competition, and how intellectual property and antitrust rules should be developed

 

Cultural History and Theory - I plan on taking this course early on. While I have a passing

knowledge of these theories, especially semiotics and explorations of postmodernity,

librarianship harbors an unaddressed tension between a Baconian system of

organization and the messy reality of the post-modern world.6

 

HIST 6546 (3). Readings in Cultural History and Theory.

Introduces standard works and recent developments in cultural history. Explores structuralism

and post-structuralism, semiotics, social construction, relativism, hegemony, and the idea of

postmodernity in the uses of culture as an historical category. Prereq., graduate standing or

instructor consent.

 

Communication - The website for the Communication department at CU states

that “Students completing a BA, MA, or PhD degree are encouraged to synthesize

social scientific and humanistic approaches to communication theory, research,

and practice.”7 The field of organizational communication has bearing on

my research, and I am specifically interested in participatory communication

organization, and the way that we shape our identities through participation in

organizational culture.

 

COMM 6010 (3). Communication Research and Theory.

Provides an integrative overview of approaches and areas of study in communication. Required

for MA and PHD communication students. Prereq., graduate standing in COMM.

 

COMM 6030 (3). Qualitative Research Methods.

Introduction to the epistemology, methodology, and representational practices associated

with qualitative studies in communication. Fieldwork methods emphasized include participant

observation, interviewing, and document/artifact analysis. Required for doctoral students in

communication; option for master's students. Prereq., graduate standing or instructor consent.

 

Education - The design of curricula is integral to critical information literacy and

scholarly communication. Curricula set up the communicative expectations for students

and teachers, shaping the flow of information, and ultimately teach students the

communication practices of a particular discipline.

 

EDUC 5065 (3). Curriculum Theories.

Examines four central curricular traditions: progressive; conservative; radical; and spiritual.

Highlights the strengths and weaknesses of various writers within each tradition with attention

paid to the conceptual features and the practical implications of each educational view.

Encourages students toexamine their own educational assumptions.

 

NOTES

http://mollykleinman.com/2010/11/16/when-librarians-are-obstacles/#comment-44660

 2 Davis Librarianship in the 21st Century-Crisis or Transformation?

3 Arthur, The Nature of Technology, p167-89  

4 Cossette, Andre Humanism and Libraries: An Essay on the Philosophy of

Librarianship. Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press, 2009.

5 Elmborg, Critical Information Literacy, 192

6 Ray, The Postmodern Library in the Age of Assessment, 250.

http://comm.colorado.edu/page.php?id=8

 

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