OK, a last note from the CIC Getting in the Flow conference, from which presentations are now appearing on the web.
Cody Hansen spoke on the NextGen panel, with powerpoint nicely done in the Lessig/Hardt style [ppt]. His theme was that librarians should be personally more visible in the web-based services they provide. He contrasted the ‘anonymous’ selection of materials in the library website with the signed recommendations in social news sites like Digg. His recommendation was for libraries to become more visible and to:
- Make personal and public recommendations of sources and articles
- Expose our selection processes
- Expose our expertise
He suggested that this would lead to them being valued more. i sensed that this idea resonated with people in the audience.
As I commented after the panel, colleagues working on the Seeking Snchronicity project, which is looking at perceptions of virtual reference services, have found that in some respondents there was a resistence to virtual reference based on the lack of a personal connection with the librarian. And, indeed, one suggestion for improvement was the possibility of developing a personal relationship with the librarian. [For some discussion of this issue see Radford and Connaway, Expect the unexpected, urban screenagers’ communicatioon and information seeking preferences, pp 17-18. [pdf]]