Tom Bruce’s plenary talk at Cornell, tech + librarianship + the Ivy League

Tom Bruce from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute talks about technologists being managed by non-technologists, and about the future of academic libraries in this thoughtful and amusing plenary talk.

In my experience, most of us don’t think about professions most of the time. We just get up and drag ass to work, whether we’re law teachers or opera singers or technologists or librarians or plumbers. We like to go to work if that is a place where our expertise is respected. And if we are not respected and we see ourselves as having little control over the very things for which we are held responsible, all of us get very, very unhappy. At the simplest level talk about professional models is nothing more and nothing less — on both sides — than displaced anxiety about where we stand in the workplace. Librarians have, for a long time, been able to draw some comfort and stability from trappings built up around the technology of print. That is going away. Technologists never had such a stable place to stand. And universities and law schools are particularly anxious workplaces now. So maybe we should spend less time debating professional models and concentrate on why it is that we need to talk about them so badly.

[thanks RepoRat]

One thought on “Tom Bruce’s plenary talk at Cornell, tech + librarianship + the Ivy League

  1. Nice article; it gave me a lot to think about. I liked this part: “Many years ago I did a consulting gig for a small law school where things had gone badly wrong, on all sides. One of the groups I interviewed was a faculty technology committee that was hell-bent on giving beepers to the technology staff so that their problems would be responded to immediately. I had only one question about that: whether or not they wanted to be the person whose problem was being worked on when the beeper went off. Seen from that point of view, the beepers were much less popular.”
    For administrators, I have this to say: there’s Cheap, Easy, and Good. You can choose two: if your project is Cheap and Easy, it won’t be Good (etc.)…

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