New book imagines the archive of the future

Chambers Cat 2.02.qxdFacet Publishing announce the publication of Archival Futures edited by Caroline Brown.

It is widely acknowledged that the archival discipline is facing a time of change. The digital world has presented changes in how records are created, used, stored and communicated. At the same time, there is increased public debate over issues such as ownership of and access to information and its authenticity and reliability in a networked and interconnected world.

Archival Futures draws on the contributions of a range of international experts to consider the current archival landscape and imagine the archive of the future. Firmly rooted in current professional debate and scholarship, the book offers thought provoking and accessible chapters that aim to challenge and inspire archivists globally and to encourage debate about their futures. Chapters cover the role of archives in relation to individuals, organisations, communities and society; how appraisal, arrangement, description and access might be affected in the future; changing societal expectations in terms of access to information, how information is exchanged, and how things are recorded and remembered; the impact of new technologies, including blockchain and automation; the place of traditional archives and what ‘the archive’ is or might become; the future role of the archive profession; and archives as authentic and reliable evidence

Tom Nesmith (University of Manitoba), said

‘Archives play a unique and powerful role in making the past available for an extraordinary array of current purposes. But do archives have a future, particularly given disruptive changes in communication technologies? Archival Futures addresses this and other challenges to find ways forward for the now pivotal role of archives in society.’

The book will appeal to an international audience of students, academics and practitioners in archival science, records management, and library and information science.

Caroline Brown is Programme Leader for the archives programmes at the Centre for Archive and Information Studies at the University of Dundee where she is also University Archivist.. She is a Chair of Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland’s) Conference Committee, sits on its Professional Development Committee, having formerly served as the Chair of the Education, Training and Development Committee, and is a member of the Executive Committee for ARA Scotland. She is a sits on the Section Bureau of the International Council on Archives Section on Archival Education and is active in ICA/SUV . She is an Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College and Panel Member and has written and spoken on a range of archival and recordkeeping issues. She is the editor of Archives and Recordkeeping: Theory into practice (Facet, 2013).

Contributors
Jenny Bunn, University College London; Luciana Duranti, University of British Columbia; Joanne Evans, Monash University; Craig Gauld, University of Dundee; Victoria Lemieux, University of British Columbia; Michael Moss, Northumbria University; Gillian Oliver, Monash University; Sonia Ranade, The National Archives; Barbara Reed, consultant; Kate Theimer, writer, speaker and commentator; David Thomas, Northumbria University; Frank Upward, Monash University; Geoffrey Yeo University College London.

 

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Valuable and timely insight into digital literacy and learning

Digital Literacy Unpacked brings together thought-leaders and experts in the field of digital literacy, providing a blend of research and practice across sectors.

The book not only offers a snapshot of innovative approaches to digital literacy,

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but also intends to provoke discussion, encourage collaboration and inspire – whatever the role or context. The editors open up the whole area of digital literacy in all its kaleidoscopic richness, and provide diverse perspectives, content and ideas to inform thinking and practice. The cross-sectoral and global significance of digital literacy is a key theme of the book but crucially at its heart it is a citizenship and inclusion issue, necessary for the full participation and achievement of all in society. Coverage includes a discussion of terminology, institutional approaches, existing frameworks, digital literacy in learning and teaching, copyright literacy, teaching the use of digital tools, critical approaches to literacy and combatting social exclusion using digital skills.

Rosie Jones, Director of Library Services at The Open University said of the book,

‘Its timing is key, given the rate of technological change and advances in our thinking around skills, and it contributes practice, theory and research to a topic that is important on a global scale. Across all sectors, we can’t avoid the digital agenda and this text provides a fabulous insight into digital literacy and learning’.

The book will be useful reading for library and information professionals across the sector, institutional leaders and managers, and LIS students. It will also be useful reading for educational technologists, learning and teaching professionals.

Digital Literacy Unpacked | August 2018 | 240pp | paperback: 9781783301973 | £64.95 | hardback: 9781783301980 | £129.95 | eBook: 9781783301997

About the authors

Katharine Reedy is a digital literacy and learning design specialist at the Open University. She is a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy and chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

Jo Parker is a senior library manager at the Open University Library, with responsibility for developing digital and information literacy strategy. She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a fellow of the Leadership Foundation. She has co-edited two previous books for Facet Publishing.

Contributors

  • Liz Bennett, University of Huddersfield
  • Bonnie Cheuk, Senior Business and Digital Transformation Leader
  • Mark Childs, Open University
  • Vedrana Vojković Estatiev, University of Zagreb
  • Sue Folley, University of Huddersfield
  • Josie Fraser, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Dean Groom, Macquarie University
  • Janet Hetherington, independent consultant
  • Charles Inskip, University College London
  • Norman Jackson, University of Surrey (Professor Emeritus)
  • Gordana Jugo, Croatian Academic and Research Network (CARNet)
  • Clare Killen, independent consultant
  • Adam Micklethwaite, Good Things Foundation
  • Chris Morrison, University of Kent
  • Chrissi Nerantzi, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Joe Nicholls, Cardiff University Library
  • Judy O’Connell, Charles Sturt University
  • Philip Seargeant, Open University
  • Jane Secker, City University London
  • Caroline Tagg, Open University
  • Geoff Walton, Manchester Metropolitan University.

The book is published by Facet Publishing and is available to pre-order from Bookpoint Ltd | Tel: +44 (0)1235 827702 | Fax: +44 (0)1235 827703 | Email: facet@bookpoint.co.uk | Web: www.facetpublishing.co.uk. | Mailing Address: Mail Order Dept, 39 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4TD. It will be available in North America from the American Library Association.

Why do records managers – and archivists – like to talk so much about information?

Guest post by Geoffrey Yeo, author of Records, Information and Data: Exploring the role of record-keeping in an information culture

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If you look at older books about record-keeping (Hilary Jenkinson’s famous 1922 Manual of Archive Administration, for example), you may notice that information is hardly mentioned at all. Even in the 1970s, when I was among a bunch of students learning about archives and records management, the tutors who instructed us rarely said anything that linked records with information.

But in today’s discussions of record-keeping we hear about information all the time. Some records professionals say that records – and archives – contain information. Some say that records are a kind of information: a kind that needs to be managed in a special way. Others say that ‘information objects’ become records when someone selects them for preservation or captures them in a record-keeping system; or that information is a record when it can be used as evidence. And growing numbers of records managers now affirm that distinctions between records and information are of little importance, that they are disappearing, or that no-one cares about them any longer.

Something very interesting is going on. Records professionals are putting forward a great variety of opinions, but they all connect records – in one way or another – to information. It becomes even more interesting when you look at some of the things that philosophers have said about information. John Searle describes information as ‘one of the most confused and ill-defined notions in contemporary intellectual life’. Fred Dretske points out that ‘if you think information is important … you must have some vague idea of what it is. … It is easy enough to find people who think they know what it is, but very hard to find two people who agree.’ If information is such a nebulous and precarious concept, why does it have such a high profile? Why have records professionals given it so much emphasis in recent years?

Of course, the records profession isn’t the only professional group that has chosen to frame its practices in terms of ‘information’. Librarians, data analysts, statisticians, knowledge managers and computer scientists all claim that their work is focused on information and its capture, control or use. As Dretske puts it, ‘a lot of people these days want their product to be (or at least be intimately related to) information. So everybody ends up talking about his or her product as information. … There is a mess in this area and, as a result, a lot of confusion’.

I’ve explored these questions in my new book Records, Information and Data (Facet Publishing, 2018). In the book, I look at when and how concepts of information (and information management) became fashionable among records professionals. I also investigate the question of how records and information are, or might be, related: a question that isn’t as easy to answer as it might seem. I argue that seeing records in terms of information doesn’t give us a full picture of how records operate. Undoubtedly, users of records may view them as informative. But at the moment of their creation, records aren’t just a matter of information; they have distinctive roles in performing social actions. Many kinds of actions – some simple, others more complex – can be performed using records, and defining records as information crucially overlooks their performative aspects. People may expect to gain information from using records, but information and records aren’t identical. Information isn’t what records contain, or what records are; it’s an intangible benefit that records can offer to their users.

Not everyone will agree with my conclusions. Some, I’m sure, will violently disagree. I’d like to know what other people think. And I’d like to know whether reading my book helps them to focus their thoughts on the place of records and record-keeping in today’s society.

About the author

Geoffrey Yeo is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at University College London. He writes about many different aspects of archives and records management. His personal webpage is at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/information-studies/geoffrey-yeo.

 

References

J. Searle, Making the Social World (Oxford University Press, 2010), p.71

F. Dretske, ‘The Metaphysics of Information’, in Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Information, ed. A. Pichler & H. Hrachovec (Ontos, 2008), pp.273-4.

New bibliotherapy guide to support the health and wellbeing of communities

9781783303410.jpgFacet Publishing announce the publication of Sarah McNicol and Liz Brewster’s Bibliotherapy.

The basic premise of bibliotherapy is that information, guidance, wellbeing and solace can be found through reading. This new book draws on the latest international practical and theoretical developments in bibliotherapy to explore how librarians, healthcare providers and arts organizations can best support the health and wellbeing of their communities.

The book begins with an exploration of the history and theory of bibliotherapy. It then presents a series of case studies illustrating how particular approaches can be used across different settings. A key focus of the book is methods of offering bibliotherapy for diverse audiences, such as homeless populations, psychiatric patients, non-native speakers and people living with dementia. Case studies are international in scope to reflect the spread of initiatives with examples from the UK, North and South America and Australasia.

Bob Usherwood, Professor Emeritus at The University of Sheffield said,

‘Sarah McNicol and Liz Brewster clearly appreciate and articulate the importance of theory, the significance of research and the value of books and reading. They, and international  contributors, demonstrate compassion and creativity and illustrate how research can be translated into policy and practice. This life-affirming text is essential reading not only for those concerned with bibliotherapy but for all who believe in the value and potential of library services in the modern world.’

This book will be useful reading for students; practising library and information professionals across sectors, including health, public, and academic libraries; healthcare providers and those with an interest in wellbeing more generally.

Sarah McNicol is a Research Associate at the Education and Social Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University. She has worked as an Information Studies researcher since 2000 and she previously worked as a school librarian. At present, much of her research is focused around the use of graphic comics and novels to explore a range of issues, in particular health and wellbeing.

Liz Brewster is a Lecturer at Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University. Her research focuses on experiences of mental health and wellbeing, particularly how creative activities such as reading may affect mental health. She has previously worked in academic and public libraries.

Contributors
Natalia Tukhareli, Fiona Bailey, Susan McLaine, Elizabeth Mackenzie, David Chamberlain, Cristina Deberti Martins, Rosie May Walworth, Kate Gielgud, Elena Azadbakht and Tracy Englert.

Geoffrey Yeo investigates the relationships between information, data and records

Chambers Cat 2.02.qxdFacet Publishing announce the release of Records, Information and Data: Exploring the role of record-keeping in an information culture by Geoffrey Yeo.

In a society that increasingly emphasizes digital information and data, questions arise about the place of longer-established concepts such as records and archives. Records, Information and Data sets out to investigate the relationships between information (or data) and records, and, to examine the place of record-making and record-keeping in today’s information culture.

Eric Ketelaar, Professor Emeritus of Archivistics at the University of Amsterdam said, “Yeo’s book argues that the prevalent discourse which equates records simply with information or data is wrong. His innovative analysis of the performativity of records results in a fascinating new conceptual and practical understanding of the roles of records and archives in social action. Professionals in handling records, information and data, as well as users of records and archives and everyone interested in ‘the archive’, will gain from this perceptive and highly readable book a new comprehension of past, present and future information cultures.”

The book starts with an exploration of the concepts of records and archives; setting today’s record-keeping and archival practices in their historical context whilst examining changing perceptions of how these concepts are understood. It asks whether and how far understandings derived from the fields of information management and data science/administration can enhance our knowledge of how records function. Finally, it argues that concepts of information and data cannot provide a fully adequate basis for reflective professional thinking about records and that record-keeping practices still have distinct and important roles to play in contemporary society.

Professor Emeritus at The University of British Columbia, Terry Eastwood praised “Yeo’s searching examination” and said that “everyone in the records field or aspiring to enter it should read this book and ponder its many cogent arguments.”

Geoffrey Yeo is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Information Studies at University College London, UK. His previous work for Facet includes Managing records: a handbook of principles and practice (with Elizabeth Shepherd, 2003), and Managing records in global financial markets (with Lynn Coleman, Victoria Lemieux and Rod Stone, 2011).

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An essential introduction to reference librarianship and information services for students and professionals

9781783302338Facet Publishing have announced the release of the fourth edition of Kay Ann Cassell and Uma Hiremath’s Reference and Information Services, An introduction.

Designed to complement every introductory library reference course, Reference and Information Services, is the perfect text for students and librarians looking to expand their personal reference knowledge, teaching failsafe methods for identifying important materials by matching specific types of questions to the best available sources, regardless of format.

Guided by an advisory board of educators and practitioners, this thoroughly updated text expertly keeps up with new technologies and practices while remaining grounded in the basics of reference work. Chapters on fundamental concepts, major reference sources, and special topics provide a solid foundation; the text also offers fresh insight on core issues, including:

  • ethics, readers’ advisory, information literacy, and other key aspects of reference librarianship
  • selecting and evaluating reference materials, with strategies for keeping up to date
  • assessing and improving reference services
  • guidance on conducting reference interviews with a range of different library users, including children and young adults
  • a new discussion of reference as programming
  • important special reference topics such as Google search, 24/7 reference, and virtual reference
  • delivering reference services across multiple platforms.

The previous edition was described by Collection Building as, “an irreplaceable source that can be recommended as an essential item for any library’s professional collection”, and by the Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries as, “A tool for library school students, new librarians, the public library reference desk, or anyone needing a general resource about providing information services and recommended tools of the trade.”

Kay Ann Cassell received her BA from Carnegie Mellon University, her MLS from Rutgers University, and her PhD from the International University for Graduate Studies. She has worked in academic libraries and public libraries as a reference librarian and as a library director. Ms. Cassell is a past president of Reference and User Services Association of ALA and is active on ALA and RUSA committees. She is the editor of the journal Collection Building and is the author of numerous articles and books on collection development and reference service. She was formerly the Associate Director of Collections and Services for the Branch Libraries of the New York Public Library where she was in charge of collection development and age-level services for the Branch Libraries. She is now a Lecturer and Director of the MLIS Program in the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Uma Hiremath is Executive Director at the Ames Free Library, Massachusetts. She was Assistant Director at the Thayer Public Library, Massachusetts; Head of Reference at the West Orange Public Library, New Jersey; and Supervising Librarian at the New York Public Library where she worked for five years. She received her MLS from Pratt Institute, New York, and her PhD in political science at the University of Pittsburgh.

Why reference librarianship is more important than ever – interview with Kay Ann Cassell and Uma Hiremath

An integral resource for students and working professionals alike, Reference and Information Services: An introduction has served a whole generation of reference librarians. But authors Kay Ann Cassell and Uma Hiremath aren’t resting on their laurels. We spoke to them about the brand new fourth edition, discussing their collaboration and why reference librarianship is more important than ever.

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How would you describe your collaborative process?

Harmonic! When we are beginning a new edition, we talk about the whole book and the changes that we want to make and then we each work on specific chapters. With Kay as an academic and Uma as a practitioner, we have mutually exclusive areas of expertise that makes it easy to segment the research.

Were there any surprises working together this time around?

Nah! After more than a decade of working together, we share an easy rhythm. Our conversations help further ideas, challenge or strengthen assumptions, and clarify doubts.9781783302338

How has virtual reference made things easier and how has it made things harder?

Entire books have been written on this. Suffice to say, the very factors about virtual reference that make things easier tend to make them harder as well. It is easier since the user and librarian can be anywhere and still able to communicate about both the question and the answer.  Anytime/anywhere access to information, at the point of need, is certainly the defining advantage of virtual reference.

Virtual access, however, has an abracadabra quality. The user learns less about the incremental steps to finding an answer provided in face-to-face interactions so that, in effect, for every research question the user starts from scratch. Anytime access also requires the reference librarian’s constant attention to connectivity issues so critical to its success.

What are some suggestions for keeping up to date on reference sources, both as an individual and an institution?

There are many ways to stay up to date, both formal and interpersonal.  Let us count the ways.

  • Habitual reading of professional literature
  • Attending conferences with exhibits by vendors
  • Participating in webinars
  • Routinely discussing information on new resources with colleagues
  • Being alert to feedback from users
  • Joining listervs that discuss reference materials
  • Following pertinent blogs, twitter accounts, newsletters, websites
  • Being an alert member of professional association.

Trustworthy, fact-based reference materials are more important than ever. How would you ethically handle a situation if you discovered that a library user was relying on sources that were questionable?

The use of questionable sources by users is something reference librarians face every day. It is, in fact, what makes reference librarianship so integral to good research! Reference librarians have always combated it by providing considered alternatives. Talking to users about the value of vetted resources and helping them understand the difference in authority and accuracy between a vetted resource and unfiltered Google results or social media discussions, is par for the course.

A more intractable challenge is the viral spread of misinformation in a hyper-networked world. Proactive measures to encourage digital literacy and critical thinking in users, such as those parsed so effectively in the Information Literacy poster available at ALA, is essential.

If you could give today’s LIS students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Kay Ann Cassell: Always be sure the information you use online is accurate and up-to-date.  That means that if it is the first time you are using a site, you must evaluate it.

Uma Hiremath: Reference librarianship is a way of life. You never stop learning and you never stop finding the next best referral for your users.

The fourth edition of Reference and Information Services: An introduction will be published in June by Facet Publishing.

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75% off The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook

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Written by two practicing CDOs, The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook offers a jargon-free, practical guide to making better decisions based on data.

The Kindle edition of the Playbook is available for £9.99/$13.30/EUR 9.99 (or your equivalent local price) until Saturday 30th June. This is a saving of 75% of the usual price.

Use the links below to order today from your local Amazon Kindle store:

This practical guide is a must-read for data leaders building the foundation of value creation from data.
– Katia Walsh, Chief Global Data and Analytics Officer, Vodafone

The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook is the best overall resource available for CDOs and their teams. The release of this book is perfectly timed. The CDO Club tracks CDO hires globally, and last year alone the number of new CDO hires quintupled. The Playbook is a compendium of essential knowledge anyone operating in the current data environment must have.
– David Mathison, Chairman, CEO and Founder, CDO Club/CDO Summit

Without any doubt, this playbook is a must read for the primary audience, the CDOs. In my opinion, it is equally a must read for the secondary audience, the C-Suite, for the insight on how the role complements their businesses.
– Sham Kashikar, ex-Chief Data Officer, Sales & Marketing, Intel

Preservation Week Roundup

Preservation

All last week we participated in Preservation Week, an initiative of ALCTS to promote the role of libraries in preserving personal and public collections and treasures.

We asked some of our authors 3 preservation questions and published the answers throughout the week. We also republished a classic blogpost by Michele Cloonan on human rights, cultural genocide and the persistence of preservation.

The 3 preservation questions that we asked were;

1. Why is preservation awareness so important?

2. What are some ways that libraries and archives can reach out to communities about the importance of preservation?

3. Digital collections are growing fast, and their formats are prone to obsolescence. What are some current or proposed digital collection initiatives from cultural institutions that give you hope for the future?

We have collected all our posts from Preservation Week in one handy list below:

3 Preservation Questions: Helen Forde and Jonathan Rhys-Lewis (co- authors of Preserving our Heritage)

3 Preservation Questions: Walker Sampson (co-author of The No-nonsense Guide to Born-digital)

3 Preservation Questions: Janet Anderson and David Anderson (co-editors of Preserving Complex Digital Objects)

3 Preservation Questions: Michele Cloonan (editor of Preserving our Heritage)

The Persistence of Preservation by Michele Cloonan.

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