Responsible Librarianship: Library Policies for Unreliable Systems

Library Juice Press, LLC, 2010 - 193 pages
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The three papers in this volume were written in the wake of a single policy decision at the Library of Congress: the decision to cease the practice of distinguishing and collating series through the use of distinctive headings maintained in an authority file. These papers examine library policies and organizational structures in light of the literature of ergonomics, high reliability organizations, joint cognitive systems and integrational linguistics. Bade argues that many policies and structures have been designed and implemented on the basis of assumptions about technical possibilities, ignoring entirely the political dimensions of local determination of goals and purposes as well as the lessons from ergonomics, such as the recognition that people are the primary agents of reliability in all technical systems. Looking at various policies for metadata creation and the results of those policies forces the question: is there a responsible human being behind the library web site and catalog, or have we abandoned the responsibilities of thinking and judgment in favor of procedures, algorithms and machines?

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Table des matières

Purposes Goals Objectives
Databases as Objects of Policy
Policy and Politics
Letter to Autocat Concerning LCs Series Treatment Decision May 31 2006
About the Author
Droits d'auteur

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Page v - It did not entirely satisfy me to narrate wrongs ; I felt like denouncing them. I could not always curb my moral indignation for the perpetrators of slaveholding villainy, long enough for a circumstantial statement of the facts which I felt almost everybody must know.
Page xiv - For the man who is not aware of this, to throw the problem of his responsibility on the machine, whether it can learn or not, is to cast his responsibility to the winds, and to find it coming back seated on the whirlwind.

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