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Joe Janes - Transcript

Joseph Janes
Associate Professor
MLIS program Chair, University of Washington
Interviewed 6/18/2012

-- Beginnings —-

[What gave you the idea for the Internet Public Library?]

OK well, it’s been 17 1/2 years now. I joked with the folks doing the IPL running the ideas these days a year ago, when it turned 16 it should have been a picture of a learners permit up on the website. It’s my teenage child in a lot of ways. I’d love to tell a story of the moment when it all crystalized and when it all happened, but I absolutely don’t remember and I didn’t at the time. It was just a phrase at the time that came into my head at some point around those three words just kind of tumbled into place. It was one of those, “Oh yeah” kind of experiences. Which I have had a few from time and I asked a few people like, “Hey what do you think of that or what does that sound like”? That’s a crazy idea and nobody said you’re full of crap, which I was also used to. So I was scheduled already - I was scheduled already to teach a topics course about once a year about the use of technology and I had done a couple of different ideas prior to that and I had one coming up. So I thought alright I would use this class as an opportunity to work through what that phrase might mean and where it would be and how it would work and so on. The idea came to me in late ’94 when the class started in January ’95. It was just when the web was just starting to have a presence. I want to say that the Mosaic browser had just come out in part of ’94 and prior to that it was just text based browsers and Lynx. Which I never thought was a good idea because I thought it was clunky and kind of stupid and I didn’t think it was nearly as good as Gopher. It was much more mendable than the text based environment, but then when I saw Mosaic and the idea of a graphical browser where you click and point and link with the ability to use images and so on and a lot of stuff really came together at a moment like that. I thought, oh well, this internet thing is going to be something. What do we have in the library world that had to offer and say to that environment and vice versa? What can we learn from them and what can they learn from us. Quite innocently, I sent some emails around to students at Michigan at the time and said; hey I got this great idea! Let’s build something called the Internet Public Library. I don’t know what it is and nobody knows what it is, but if you’re interested and you’re interested in this class write me a paragraph or two and tell me why you are interested and we’ll go from there. I got like 50 or 60 people who were interested. All of a sudden I realized that I struck a nerve or that people were interested in taking a 2 credit class. I couldn’t tell. I read through these things and people had very different ideas and very different interests. People wanted to look at the technology and people wanted to look at the reference service, they wanted to look at collections, and they wanted to look at metadata. The only thing I insisted on from the begging was that it had a story hour, because most public libraries had a story hour and I had a handful of people who were interested in working with young people. So I just picked a cross section of people, some I knew and some I didn’t. It was also a time at the school in Michigan at that point where there were a lot of students that were quite adept to technology who were trying really interesting things and a point where you could do interesting web based things without a great deal of background. You didn’t need a ton of programing and you didn’t need a ton of design and you didn’t need a ton of networking theory. It was pretty simple. Most of those early pages and almost all of those early pages were hand coded HTML. We were typing a lot of angle brackets and so on the cost of entering was very low and the bang for the buck was really high. You could type a few things into a text based word processor and on a network machine up would come a webpage and you could see it very quickly. This was before you could use WYSIWYG text editors and come up with a pretty professional looking thing which was hard to recreate in those days. So it was ideally timed in that perspective for the students and a lot of people who were really trying to learn these things and the ideas were in the air and there were a lot of people who were really serious about what do we do with libraries. How does this mesh with the library world and there was a lot of people in the library world who were really excited about it as well. Everybody is we learn and make plans for the future. There was a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of excitement and a lot of potential there. Those all kind of came together at the right place at the right time and in the right moment and I always feel that when you’re in the right place at the right time and with the right people - and then they did all the work.

[Do any of the original students still work on the project?]

None of the original students are still working on it. We did for several years and had many people from the original group who were on staff on a year were grant funded from the Sloan Foundation – which was helpful—there had been a couple of other people who had been involved over the years administrating reference and service. When it had migrated to Derexal several years ago that’s when kind of like when one door opens another one closes. I know there was Laurie Mond who is a faculty member at Florida State who was deeply involved when she was a master’s student when she was at Michigan State. She’s still involved with the administration of it and there was just a 3 year IMLS grant that was funding educational pedagogical stuff going around the project. Everybody else has gone off to bigger and better things. [Top] [Back to Interview Breakdown]

-- Challenges -—

[How did you find creditable sources on the Internet as new as it was?]

Well that was one of the early challenges – actually at the beginning they had no vision of a collection as I said they only thing I assisted on was a story hour. We divided people fairly quickly immediately into groups based on what they were interested in. There was a group based in technology, working with young people and there was a group who was really interested in offering reference and answering questions. It wounded up being one of the first globally freely available online library reference service in the world. That group figured out very quickly that they needed a collection and I didn’t tell them but they figured it out in a couple of weeks that they or what they had to have was started out as the Ready Reference Collection and that sort of emerged into the collection that it is today. They went for the exact processes that the librarians research today. What’s our criterion and what should it cover. How do we decide and they didn’t have to pay for anything, because we didn’t have any money. Their constraint was their own time and has a way to identify this stuff with. This was way before Google. Yahoo was around, but it was in rudimentary form and categorically organized. The way we found a lot of the resources early on was the What’s New Page that the National Computer for Reciprocal Publications that the University of Illinois put out. Then every day you could find the new stuff the web put out. It’s hysterical that you can even think about that today. That was a source for us and they scrounged and did what they could to find resources that they thought could be useful for a reference course. So in a lot of ways and I could say this about a lot of different parts of the library in those days they were reinventing the wheel – without reinventing the wheel—but they learned very quickly that there were interesting and important aspects in librarianship that made a lot of sense in the internet domain and others that made no sense at all. We didn’t need a circulation policy, because nothing was going to circulate, but we needed a collection development policy because we had to make decisions that this was going to be in our collection and this was not. What did it mean to be in the collection, because we didn’t own it, we didn’t buy it, we didn’t provide access to it, we just kind of pointed to it. So does that make it a collection? Well kind of…it’s more about what we thought was worthwhile, but that didn’t restrict people from using other sources in answering reference questions. There was a lot of this renegotiation of straightforward librarianship and then developing an entirely new thing. The idea of answering a reference question for someone you could never lay eyes on ever and not even communicate with in real time. It’s an old idea from correspondence reference back at the turn of the 20th century, but nobody had done that for a very long time in any kind of mass scale, so then they had to start all over again and how do you do that?

[Did you integrate methods and ideas used previously in the library world?]

We did look a little at telephone reference and it was fascinating to what we now know as the evolution of digital reference or virtual reference mirroring in many ways the development of telephone reference. The telephone people were asking in the 1920’s-‘30s were asking questions like, should the phone be at the desk or somewhere else? They were asking if you can multi-task and things like that. Should you have a separate collection for a telephone service than you would for a face to face service? Who gets priority if the phone rings and someone turns up at the desk at the same time? There is literature well into the ‘50s that tells us why telephone reference is not a good idea, since it detracts from your primary services which are the people who have taken the time and trouble to come in. If you do have 2 telephone calls, you should prefer the busy business man because that’s really important and women running club programs is less important. This is a female dominated profession by the way. It’s fascinating to watch this all play out again with like, well how do you answer an email question, a text question, how do you answer a IM question and can you do a reference interview online? Can you authentically answer a reference question from someone when there is no opportunity given for a give and take? Those kinds of things that nobody had thought about in a long time and a lot of that stuff came up just because they had to reinvent them. There was so little literature. Eileen Naples had written her literature on email reference interview and one or two preliminary references going on. You know my students just made stuff up and some of it worked really well and some of it we learned from. We learned from everything, but it didn’t always work the first time. I continued to push them and told them, look you’re not the first person to think of these things and in some cases they were.

[Where there any other challenges that you encountered during this process?]

Yes, well first of all as we started this thing we didn’t have a server. So trust me – we wanted to build an internet library but didn’t have a server ! Which is kind of a problem… so there was kind of a –there were six groups in the early days and it’s impossible to say which of the groups was your favorite child or which was the most important, but if it hadn’t been for the public relations group I don’t think nearly any of this would have been as successful as it was. So there first tasks was, how to get a server? Plan A was Sun Microsystems was having a contest and they had a free server if you wrote an essay in 50 words or less what you deserve a server and you can win a free server. Plan B was that we didn’t have a Plan B, so we went 2-3 weeks without a server. That was kind of my problem, but I was too busy doing other things and finally after a few weeks I talked to the head of technology at the school who was an OK guy – he had his moments – and one of his monuments was when I told him, “You know I’m teaching this class and we are trying to find a server” – and when he felt like it he could be really helpful and he was really helpful and he said, “Hey I’ve got a server sitting under my desk do you want it”? That was Plan B. We basically never asked permission to plug into some worldwide service onto the University of Michigan backbone, so nobody knew any better. One of the great lessons that we all learn eventually is that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. So we just kind of did that, and Problem A was that we didn’t have a server. Then the PR group decides to turn themselves into writing the press release and announce this work to a waiting world - no one was waiting for it because no one knew about it. So this group really had their crap together – let me tell you – they wrote a press release Bold Initiative Heralds Tomorrows Library Today or something like that. It was like 3 paragraphs and made it sound like we had a 5 million dollar grant and a staff of 50 and librarians all over the world. It was 35 of us in a classroom once a week for 2 credits. So they sent this press release out to a bunch of listservs and news work groups and it sort of made the rounds and at the bottom it said if you are interested in hearing more about our work subscribe to this listserv. Today it would be a Twitter feed or a Facebook page or something, but in those days it was a listserv. So we went that thing out and it got picked up and sent out to some other listservs and other discussion groups and so on. One day I walk into class – we meet once a week, Tuesday afternoons. So one day I walk into class and one of the students said, “Hey guess what one of those press releases has kind of made the rounds”. People were like, “Oh really? That’s cool”! Then people were signing up for the listservs and they asked how many people signed up for the listserv? I said, “3,000” and that was the moment it stopped being a class. Because now the grade I was going to give people at the end of the semester was pointless, it was completely irrelevant. There were 3,000 people who were waiting to see tomorrow’s library today. They were a whole lot more imposing of an audience than I was, so that changed it right away. That is when everybody started working 26 hours a day and making themselves sick. The only challenge we didn’t know we were facing until that listserv message went out was what people perceived about the project. We were all in this quite inanely. That this was going to be a great idea and students were going to learn stuff we were going to build this little thing. I had no plan for beyond the boundaries beyond that semester. I had no idea what was going to happen it just hadn’t dawned on me. We got a 3 page email from a major Northwestern public library not far from Ann Arbor Michigan. That basically ripped us up one side and down the other. What were we doing and why were we doing this? Why were we trying to destroy public libraries? Why were we trying to be the last public library in the world? That took me back – I mean, WOW! I did not see that coming I had no idea and that told me that in the profession on Librarianship that was a deep pervasive reservoir of fear about change. About the new and unknown and a little of that is healthy, but that was paranoid. I was so taken back that I didn’t know how to respond to that. So finally my first reaction was if you are threatened by us then you have bigger problems because we are nothing. Now it maybe sounds like we are something but we were nothing and plus we are on your side. So I tucked that away in the back of my mind and I’ve gone back to that more than once. There is a strong thread in librarianship of innovation and trying new things. I mean look at OCLC and look at MARC and look at a lot of those kinds of innovations that we were among. We were one of the first institutions to embrace high capacity computing from back in the 60s from OCLC computing. We would also have a streak of everything was fine 20 years ago and those would coexist librarianship and you can’t get away from it. That simultaneously opens the door for us and inhibits us, so those all came up fairly quickly, so long before the doors were open the table was set.

[What was the public reaction to the Internet Public Library?]

Well with the listserv population we had no idea who was who, but the kind of response to that and the speed of that –all of this happen the first day of the first class to the day it actually started were 10 weeks. So everything happens really fast. The server search, the press release, the listserv - I’ve lost track of the actual dates, but I want to say that the listserv stream was the 5th or 6th week. Not which any of this was planned? It never dawned on me that we would even need a press release until the group came to me and said, “Yes, we need to write a press release”. So it looked good to me and what do I know? Nothing. So the fact that there was that kind of response and not all of it could be professional. Once we did open the traffic it wasn’t overwhelming, but it wasn’t trivial either. Then it just continued to grow and then it got a little press and it got a little more press and the professional press started to pick it up. So it was never a launch that fried the server or anything, but there was a steady spread of notoriety and interest and acceptance and use and that was a sense of how people were responding to it. What I took away personally was the power of the word library. I was very conscious of calling it an Internet Public Library. It wasn’t a website and it wasn’t a service and it wasn’t this or that – it was a library. That was intentional it wasn’t necessarily to make a point library as a word although it wounded up being that in the back of my mind it was there, but the power of the word kept on coming back to me over and over again. Like the response, “are you trying to kill us”? That was a response to something like that. Or like, wow that would be kind of cool and what does this mean. People have a sense of what a library is and we played off that it helped people have a better understanding and curiosity and interest of what we were doing and how we were going to use it. The fact that we called it a library and B we were acting like librarians. People who build things called libraries and are not libraries and its out. Look at the DPLA and I have no idea what they are doing over there. I’ve been there and it doesn’t look like a library to me. It looks like a big funded project and people are trying to make a point about digitization. It certainly doesn’t look like any public library that I ever saw and why just limit yourself to just America? It’s seems very narrow minded. There are lots of people who like the word and we were trying to make a stand for the word a little bit.

[Is there anything else you would like to tell us?]

One of the other really important things that I remember was… right before we opened and before we pushed the button to send the URL around which was not and was centered and loaded on the server…March 17, 1995 and it was a Friday and it was St. Patrick’s Day and my grandfather was Irish and that made my mother really happy, so we opened on St. Patrick’s Day. It was also 5 more weeks within the semester so we could go back and do their other courses which people had been ignoring for several weeks. Then everybody got sick on the 18th and everybody came down with what we called the Martian Death Flu. It was horrible and I was the only one who didn’t get sick, because I didn’t do anything. I was going home and sleeping all night while the students were in the lab and working all night. Within a couple of days before that somebody had found a resource the, alternative dictionary, which is actually still around. The alternative dictionary that defines swears words and profanities in like every language known to humanity. It translates and it’s quite colorful. People were like, “Have you looked at this”? I hadn’t and – Whoa! – And a couple of days before we opened we wrote a materials consideration policy. For, you know, if you find something in our collection that you don’t like then you can write a letter to the Director of the Library. That was me and here’s our collection and our policy and we’ll reconsider it. That policy got used and we got more of the alternative dictionaries than anything else. You know in the very early days, Go Ask Alice was a very frank sex advice for teenagers – Oh my god! – So we did take a few things out of the collection. Things that just didn’t fit, but it’s a public library and I understand that people are going to have different views of what is going to be in the collection, but we didn’t own anything. We did get reference questions like; “do you have any books about this”? We are on the internet and we don’t have any books! A lot of people thought we were their local public library, so could you put a hold on this for us? Can you renew my books? We would get reference questions, but we never got; what time do you close? Where’s the bathroom? You know the most popular questions in public libraries. We did get really weird reference questions like, “What am I thinking”? “Please send me information”. That was my particular favorites …”Please send me information”. We learned a lot about the way people thought about search and about interaction. The web form that we put up for people to submit reference questions and we did that from the word go and that was based on duty and IPL references question form were right out of general reference questions and not everybody got that right away, but we would have this really interesting effect on people. Does Denver use IPL have you all answered IPL reference questions? [Top] [Back to Interview Breakdown]

-- Hindsight -—

[In hindsight what would you have done differently?]

Two things come to mind instantly. One was to have a sustainability plan, because we had no idea and we got to the end of the semester and everybody’s is like, now what do we do? Nobody thought about it and we had a bunch of volunteers and we continued to run courses around it. We got some grant funding and the school at Michigan was very good in continuing to fund it. It’s never been on substantial financial footing it’s now run primarily from the direct school caucus. Which I’m very grateful about. I no longer really have anything to do with it and other than patronage. I also think that if we had a sustainability plan it would have been really hard and we would have talked our way out of it. I think ignorance was bliss. Not having thought about it and forcing the hand at many junctures made it easier. If we thought really hard about it we wouldn’t continue it and we would have stopped at the end of the semester that petered out at the end of the summer. I think being ignorant saved us. Which is one of my better skills…one of the other things I would have done is push harder on the idea that can you build a library when there is no community. The flaw at the center of the internet public library is that in most parts of the world the public library connotes a certain geographic community. In some parts of the world it’s connected to the national library. In some parts of the world it doesn’t mean what we mean by it. Certainly in the Anglo American world and much of the western world it is a local community that brings its resources together to support the information source that everybody gets to use. Totally not the model of the IPL. Not only is there no support there is no community so that’s the disconnect. So on one very important level the IPL fails because it’s not a public library in the truest sense. I think that was a blind spot for me and for most of us we got so eager to do this that that piece fell away. If we thought about it harder again I think we would have fell out of it again. I don’t feel bad about doing that was a lesson for me and I think a lot of us that caused a lot of challenges with us going forward. Who pays for them? Whose job is it to pay for a service like this? It’s nobody’s job because there is no community and there is no tax structure, there is no money structure. God knows we talked about those types of things and to get funding. Should we get funding out of the UN, should we get funding out of the State Department, should we get funding out of the Library of Congress, IFLA, ALA (god help us)…whose job is it to support this? Who will charge a penny of a fraction from anyone who hits a webpage and it comes back to us. We had these ideas. None of these which seemed relevant. WE thought about advertising we thought about a lot of different funding. In many cases the technology just wasn’t there and who was I just going to call at the UN? Like, Hi you don’t know me but – you know there is just no way to do this. It hasn’t evolved since, there is no internet community. The closest thing you have is the Wikimedia board of directors or that kind of thing. The ITA who governs the internet infrastructure they’re not interested. So that is another one that I didn’t understand and if we did we might have talked ourselves out of it. Those are the two things that I think about and we would have probably talked our way out of it, but we are still alive and we’re still here.

They take volunteers, but people are typing in the questions. You would see this fascinating phenomena where people where videotaping themselves. So they would start with a broad question and they would start narrowing and narrowing it down all in the space of a web form. In the very beginning there was a field that said keywords, so it would begin with what’s your first name and where do you live and how long do you need for your answer? Please tell us your question and then there was a field for keywords. I think the keyword field sort of makes people think it was a search engine or that it was a robot or something because they wouldn’t type full sentences they would just write keywords in and like they were going to get an instant answer. I think that is the way that people thought about it so we just took the keywords out. We took the keyword out from a librarian that said I’m trying to find the name of a novel that’s got a man in a cabin on a boat and with a snake and the keyword field which is below said man, cabin, boat, snake was not a lot of value add right there. SO I said we should probably take the field. We also in the question around the field box it used to say something like, please tell us what the nature of your question was and a couple of boxes down was the reason for your question, like why do you want to know this? In person it was a very hard thing to ask a person without sounding like a librarian, why do you want to know that? SO we couched it in very ravenesque tones like the more we know about someone the better we can help you, blah, blah. It was basically why do you want to know this? A number of people would write, Oh I’m just curious. It made me wonder how many people we are loosing because they would come to that box and they would think oh I’m curious I’m just not serious enough. So in a text box to the side I put in oh it’s OK to just be curious. Just to validate we don’t care about this stuff it’s just useful to know. In person practice, I often found myself when I was working at the reference desk at the library here I would find it very interesting you know I would ask what are you working on or how did you get to this or that kind of stuff to just open people up so they would tell me what they are working on. I don’t care, but it just helps me put it into some kind of context. So we had all kinds of adventures with reference questions. I think one of the, on a slightly more serious note, one of the things that working with great people were compelled by…one of the things people were interested in at the beginning of the class was that I articulated the 5 goals for the class and one of them was that everybody does work that they are proud of and one of the last of the 5 goals was there is no way to fail. Because even if this thing was going to collapse on itself or if nobody was going look at it or if it had died the work itself would have been valuable. We learned so much about web technologies and librarian’s research and service, evaluations and all of that stuff so the outcome was going to be great to what they were learning. The outcome was going to be great to what they were learning and persists to this day, but that wasn’t the point. The point was the work that we were doing. Just telling them they were not going to fail that put a net underneath everything, so it didn’t matter I was still going to think highly of them. They could still think highly of themselves and of each other. SO I take credit for that and the goals and everything else was them, but the goals and the name I think I’ll take credit for that, but it kind of developed them into an environment where the work you were doing was really important in how you went about doing it and there was no way to fail. Even though failure could be very beneficial had failed you could even say we failing when we recognized that we didn’t have a community, but no matter what happens you can still learn from it. This whole notion of failing forward and there is no such thing as a failure if you can learn something from it. We were there 17 years ago, so there’s nothing new there. I have to tell my students about the National Union Catalog of Pre-1956 Imprints and that only lasted like 20 years. It’s an albatross, but it was a fantastic thing from which we learned a lot and World Cat looked the way it does the library thing we hadn’t had the Mansell 1956 Imprints. I’m sure a lot of blood sweat and tears went into that and even though it only lived for 20 years we learned a lot from it and so did a lot of people and it made a difference. I will take credit for that in creating an environment where people can work and that they could be proud of. I have never had before or since a teaching experience like that because I had nearly no teaching. I had nothing in it. Well I had a lot in it, but I had done next to no teaching. It was the most powerful pedagogical experience I have ever had. I just felt so right and felt so in the groove and we were having a ball to just to see how much they were learning was just extraordinary and it changed my life and it changed their lives and I wouldn’t be sitting here today talking to you and I wouldn’t have a column in American Libraries and moving all over the world. I wouldn’t have any of that if it had not been for the way they acted on a crazy idea that I don’t remember coming up with. So I owe them a huge deal of gratitude and it’s a big part of who I am today. [Top] [Back to Interview Breakdown]

-- Advice -—

[What advice do you have for people entering the work force?]

Never underestimate the power of a good idea and the people will work themselves like dogs to see it through. I had promised the original group that whenever I talked about this I would say that they did all the work and I had done a little poking and prodding and pushing and Oh that’s a good idea or saying Oh well I don’t know about this and that was about the extent of the teaching I did. They all made themselves sick at the end. I also promised them that it was going to be a 2 credit class and that everybody passed - not a surprise. The fact that they were willing to give themselves almost body and soul watching how hard people worked. I lead a very strange existence that semester, because I was also teaching another class. I was also teaching statistics that semester and seen many of the same students on Monday mornings and then we’d be talking about and then by Wednesday it was like Yay there are 3500 people on the listserv. That was kind of an out of body moment. Plus lots of things were going on that I had no idea about I remember one faculty meeting where I was showing the faculty oh look this is a project that people are doing and the homepage was different from the night before. I was like look they are doing great things, but I don’t know what they are doing. The fact was that the idea was so compelling and that was another reinforcement of right place, right time and right people. Change any of those variables the project would have been very different.

One of the earlier issues that came up was trying to build something that no one had ever seen before and calling it the Internet Public Library was all well and good, but what does that look like? Something had to be on the screen and something had to be on the homepage. It wasn’t like there were that many examples of anything like an internet public library, you couldn’t look at it from down the street. I mean if you were building a physical library you had a model. The very early designs were highly architectural. I mean pictures of buildings and pictures of rooms with image maps that you could click on, but that metaphor of the physical building that you could click on and for a long time there was something called the reading room. With images and full text kind of like Gutenberg or now Google Books, but we called it the Reading Room because that is what we had. There was an exhibit hall, because somebody wanted to make—I think the first one was on Pueblo pottery. You know public libraries have exhibit halls so can we and make it as big as you like and scan the images and so on. The story hour was the first instance of streaming media on the internet in general and certainly in libraries. SO they were learning all about that. The architectural metaphor and we called it that for a long time and the design group was called the architectural group was the great power for those architectures. We were starting clean, but we weren’t starting clean because it was a library. So you couldn’t just build a website, because you couldn’t just build a website because there weren’t that many websites going on. So there wasn’t a dominate web design development yet there was no website on how you build a dominate library web presence. I mean libraries that had webpages were simple and very rudimentary. There was nothing that called itself a library in that kind of place. It got progressively less architectural as we went and it started with a picture of the Greek columns with the pediment on top to a plague that had bronze engraving on it. We had to go through that process of detaching ourselves from the familiar of the library to get to something that was much more natively internet web based. So there was always these and I remember it was Dave Carter who we were not answering reference questions for very long and he was in that group and a lot of others were in that group and Sara Ryan in the early reference group and I met with them and it had been open for a few weeks and I was asking them what it was like and I’m almost positive that it was Dave Carter who said, “You know it’s like answering reference questions in person and its exactly the same and also its completely different”. That phrase has come up to me I don’t know how many times within the past 17 years. Not just about answering reference questions, but about everything that has to do with libraries and technology, internet and everything. I think embracing the fact that there are lots of things that are like that is really important. That there is a lot to be learned from the heritage of librarianship and archival work and museum and other cultural heritage institutions, but you have to be able and willing to look at that with fresh eyes, leave some of it behind, and grieve it a little bit if you do. Take the stuff that makes sense and be willing to add to it in an entirely different way. Not everyone is capable of doing that. Many of our colleges are simply not willing to leave it at the door and many of our colleges to leave it at the door step are not willing to look back more than a week or two. Like we never thought of this stuff before more of the former than the latter, but it’s the idea that we are able to embrace and enfold pervious practice, so to invest it with new ideas and not to be beholden of the past but not to abandon it all together either. I think a lot of that is bound up in exactly the same idea and the more you look, for those of you who are just starting out, the more you look at what has come before the more you will find it familiar going forward. I was just the other day looking at American Library Magazine from 20 years ago and, Denise believe it or not, I’ve been writing in that column for over 10 years in American Libraries. I thought that I would mark 10 years by going back 20 and, oh my gosh! The National Information Infrastructure and you know, now we have full text available on CD ROM and ProQuest and you can see these ideas just beginning to be worked out 1991-92 and you can just to see it worked out. You can go back to the telephone reference from the 1920-30s and it’s just great stuff to be had back then some of its comical and some of its crap and some of it we don’t do anymore and some of it is horribly ethnocentric and sexist and racist and in some instances its embarrassing and some of it is pearls of wisdom. That is there for you and your generation to follow and what you grow from and make a choice of your own like we did with what came before us. Which is the exactly same but completely different. If it isn’t then we are in a lot of trouble, because if it doesn’t or the exactly the same part to do clients and community and to do some cuts it’s important it’s really hard to make the transition. If it doesn’t feel like librarianship to us to be honest our colleges are not going to take it and not going to adopt it and if it doesn’t feel quite right our clients and communities it’s a hard sell, but if it’s the right thing then you will sail right through. 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July 2012

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