Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hackers Have a Stronger Sharing Ethic than Librarians

The dysfunctional model of Librarians, who already have great jobs as librarians--writing books for ALA, or other publishers who will then pimp their information out to libraries who can afford the price to these publications. Most often, these publications are on essential library best practices and technology implementations. To put up a barrier to this librarian created information is ethically and morally wrong. It goes against the librarian principle of sharing information.

This information should be made freely available to libraries who can't afford the new ALA techSource title, or to small rural libraries who can't afford to attend the 350.00 pre-conference.

Shit--I have learned more from Hackers for free than I have learned from librarians sharing their vital information.

This site needs to be hackerfied--meaning--it should be converted to an information sharing site:

When I was first introduced to computers and the internet I had a friend who was a hacker. He turned me onto a group of White Hat Hackers who dedicated their lives to sharing information.

Much of what they did was illegal, but it was not malicious. It was about sharing. These people would spend hours and hours creating tutorials for users--this is where I learned about ports, scanning, FTP and more--all for FREE.

This sharing ethic made such a huge impression on me that I wondered why more people don't share information so freely.

Then I became a librarian and was so excited by the purported ethic of sharing information with those who are in need. Once I became a librarian, I quickly realized that this was not the case. What I mean by that is that in order to serve your patrons well, then you will have to cough up the money (most often) to get that information in the form of a pre-conference, a publication or a trainer. BIG bucks paid to librarians, whose ethics are supposed to include sharing information--even with those who have nothing. There is something wrong when our profession sells information.

One of my academic friends on FB told me that it is a tenure issue--"...people need to publish in the antiquated system in order to be recognized professionally."

While, this is indeed the case for academic librarians, we ALL need to be pushing the envelope on the publishing platform issue. Blogs and other related platforms can and should be used by academia to publish their work and get critiques from colleagues and a wider breadth of readership than simply publishing your article in one journal. Blogging to a wider audience can inject a healthy dose of transparency, information diffusion and a diversity of ideas into Academia. Academia is in dire need of these things at the moment.

Librarians should set up a virtual publishing center and publish their work there. It should be Be freely available to anyone who needs the information and should also include multimedia production and storage capabilities.

I should note here that many library related publications that are written by librarians and sold by publishers do not pay a dime. However, the publishers make money if the book sells through library related channels.


ramontrane said...

Well written. Great essay. I've had the same experience when I began my librarian career (of course, from the bottom, being a shelver, working in circulation, assist librarians and finally having to study -sic, Library Science -sic)I thought that my passion for books, information and culture would be the perfect place. I realized that lots of librarians are very conservative, up to their noses and don't have the experience of those who had work from the bottom, thus knowing all about collection, circulation, information -reference, and entertainment. Libraries have a lot of red tape and censorship, something that I learned in library school (which I'm still paying and haven't learn much; I didn't have to). Long live hackers. Thinking of Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. True heroes.

Cathy said...

Years ago, when I was working at a library and we wanted to unionize, we were courted by several bigger unions like ASCME and others. But they were all unions that repped other entities, office workers, factory workers etc. Why was there no national library union? The natural organization that could have nurtured that would be ALA - but that's when I realized how ALA was created for managers, not library workers. Although ALA advocates for libraries, it's not equal in how it advocates for library workers.

Max Macias said...

I also started from the bottom. For some reason, people seem to give you less respect--not realizing their entitlement and often making fools of themselves. We need more sharing and less copyright policing! Thank you so much for your comment!

Max Macias said...

@ Cathy. Word--I agree--hopefully we can change that. ALA could be the best thing since sliced bread instead of being an over-bloated direct marketing tool for library vendors and other people out to make money from libraries. ALA does some great things, but it should focus more on service than on expensive twice a year conferences and pre-conference session that nobody but the 'elite' can attend.

Eliza lpz said...

Hi Max. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. For some time too I've been thinking about this idea of the ethics of sharing information versus making money out of knowledge that should be freely shared to better serve communities. It especially makes me angry when Librarians only share their knowledge and expertise about providing services to underserved populations through expensive books, trainings, or consulting services because the libraries that can use the information the most are the ones who often can't afford to pay.

I'm hopeful that the new Oregon Reforma chapter will serve as a knowledge sharing platform that will help libraries across Oregon; were we can bring out collective knowledge to improve library services to underserved populations, especially children and families in our state.

Max Macias said...

Thank so much for taking the time to read and comment Eliza lpz.

Yes! I am optimistic that our group can and will build something that we can use in Oregon and can also be used as a model for others.

Take care and have a great Sunday hermana!


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