Librarian ALERT: “Recorded Knowlege” is an Oxymoron…02.27.09

27 02 2009

There is a GREAT post today from Virtual Dave which librarians and information professionals need to heed titled Bullet Point: “Recorded Knowledge is an Oxymoron” and excerpted here:

There is a phrase widely used in librarianship that has always bothered me – ‘recorded knowledge.’ It bothers me for a couple reasons, not the least of which it is often invoked by folks who define librarianship as collections and stacks. However, it is much more problematic in the light of participatory librarianship

Regardless of what your theoretical stance is on knowing, however, why limit the field of librarianship to simply organizing and pointing to artifacts? Why ever limit knowledge to what is recorded – ask indigenous people, or the under represented, or the fringe, or even the craftsman. The main goal of librarianship isn’t the orderly distribution and location of stuff. It’s to make our communities smarter, and to make the world a better place. By focusing on recorded knowledge, which I take to mean artifacts like books, DVD’s, web pages, papyrus scrolls, stone tablets, and tapestry (among others), we move our attention away from where it matters – our members/users/patrons…

We forever stand at the breach, the frontline between ignorance and enlightenment. We are the kind hand that conveys our communities from the darkness of the uninformed into the light of knowledge. We must stand shoulder to shoulder with our communities to hold back the tide of indifference and intolerance. Through active service, we must not only point the way to better days, but we must live the way…”




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