Thursday, 9 March 2017

Beyond GLAMR..

A couple of nights ago, I attended an ALIA New Graduates event, "GLAMR Connect". It was a well-attended event with a wide range of speakers from across the GLAMR sector, and you can read all about it here.

And of course, it wasn't without its share of contentious statements bandied around, with one of the speakers suggesting that librarians in government agencies should shed the L-word and refer to themselves as Information Specialists, and in conversation afterwards, one person suggested to me that if I want to work in museums, I'd be better off getting an accredited information science degree than going for a museum studies course that has no accreditation. I also had an interesting conversation with a somewhat-perky newgrad who was adamant that the sooner we became fully digital in the way we handle knowledge and information, the better.

Whilst it was a lengthy night, showcasing the extensive range of work and supporting organisations within the GLAMR sector, I couldn't help but feel that this already-growing acronym could really use a few more letters that connect with the LIS industry just as strongly...

Publishing - There are so many connections between libraries and the publishing industry, whether it's education texts, academic journals, e-books, online publishing, or good old novels. Without the publishing industry, there would be no libraries, and many librarians that I know have gone on to work in the publishing industry. We organise knowledge and information and connect it with readers.

Education - Similarly, librarians and educators have worked side by side pretty much since the dawn of civilisation. Some librarians also have teaching degrees. We guide students in learning to access, analyse and use information in all its forms and contexts.We teach students critical thinking. And many librarians work outside schools and universities, as trainers in the workplace, and promoters of information literacy.

News - Last year, I attended an excellent training course on media verification, which was certainly more targeted to journalists and media monitors than traditional librarians. But in this age of alternative facts and fake news, there's a huge crossover in the work that information professionals and journalists do, particularly in analysing information, identifying sources, and disseminating that knowledge in a way that contributes to an informed society.

Development - I've spoken much in the past about the similarities between the development sector and the information sector. Ultimately, we all work in capacity building people, organisations and communities, with the end goal of living in an equitable and sustainable society.

There's much scope for the GLAMR sector to contribute and share knowledge across these other sectors - not only through traditional means of information access, but with a growing trend in developeing collections of public datasets (for example), these can be used to support news reporting, teaching practices, and particularly the development sector. Even the humanitarian aid sector is reliant on GIS and data management experts to gather and present information on crises such as natural disasters and irregular migration.

So, bring on the PERMGLAND sector! Okay, we're definitely going to need to find some more letters, unless somebody can think of a better acronym...