Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thoughts on Information Culture - Roberta I Shaffer

This week I am attending the 2014 FEDLINK Spring Exposition at the Library of Congress.  Today Roberta I. Shaffer, Associate Librarian for Library Service, gave introductory remarks on the Information Culture.  Here are my notes.  I hope I captured the essence of her talk.

What is Information Culture?  - Knowledge workers in a knowledge economy.

What should we expect from being part of a knowledge culture?
There is a lot of ambiguity – a lot more information independence and information dependence.  There are more haves and have-nots in terms of information access.

We hear a lot about Big Data, but how do we manage small data?  What about our personal data and our personal information needs?
What about the “right to be forgotten”?

In some European countries, people have the right to purge their personal history.  But does that accurately reflect history?
Information ethics – does a person’s right to control their personal information (history) override our need to preserve accurate information?

Where do we draw the line?  What about the right to privacy and the right to give up our privacy?

Shared values in the Information Culture:

The A-list:
  • Ambiguity – positive and negative
  • Authoritativeness – determine the authority. How do we tell others that something is reliable?
  • Authenticity – What we pass along is authentic, but we often have to peel the onion to track the changes.
  • Always – perpetuity. We live in three dimensions of time:
    • The past – what we know; the information that we have collected
    • The present – what is current and authoritative today
    • The future – we plan for the future information needs, collecting and preserving for future generations.
  • Access – for all. Preserving information is much harder in the cyber world.  What information should we acquire?  Our default is to collect it all because we fear we will miss something important.  But what will future generations need?
  • Apolitical – As we collect information, we need to be objective.  Others can make political choices with the information, but we must be apolitical.
  • Agile – we need to be more agile within our agencies.  Information demands are not rigid and they cross lines of traditional divisions and disciplines.
View into Information Culture
  • I – Information Culture is a strategic asset within our agencies.  We have to let our leaders know that we are an asset – not merely a cost account.  We are stewards of agency information.
  • II – Information Culture has the potential to effect social change.  How information flows through society, who has access and can use information – these are important!  What we do is important.  It is brain surgery and rocket science because we support the people who do brain surgery and rocket science.  We affect peoples’ quality of life.
  • III – Information Culture is dynamic in its ability to influence.  It draws from society, but also gives back ten-fold.  Information Culture grows with use.

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