A call for the philosopher librarian

This is a reblog of something I originally posted here. Thinking of the philosopher-technologist today recalled it to mind.

Librarian Dave Puplett discusses the role of the librarian.

Academics must be applauded for making a stand by boycotting Elsevier. It’s time for librarians to join the conversation on the future of dissemination, but not join the boycott. | Impact of Social Sciences.

Interesting to view the librarian as midwife — very Socratic. At the Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity (CSID), we’ve discussed the possibility of the philosopher bureaucrat before, along with what constitutes ‘real’ philosophy. What about the philosopher librarian?

A librarian should be well positioned to affect scholarly communication — for instance, she may well be involved with  Open Access policies, such as the one we recently adopted  at UNT, or be an advocate for them at her institution.

In the latter situation, the librarian will have to convince the university community that an Open Access policy is in the university’s interest. In the former situation, unless the existing policy is mandatory, it will be up to the librarian not only to disseminate information about the policy to the researchers at the institution, but also to make a case that those researchers ought to participate. In other words, the librarian will have to be able to construct an effective argument — the classic skill of the philosopher. Either the librarian will have to become a philosopher, or a philosopher will have to become the librarian.

For our other posts on Open Access, click here.

5 thoughts on “A call for the philosopher librarian

  1. ….Also, Paul Otlet, a Belgian lawyer who developed a universal scheme for classifying documents, and is now seen as a founding father of modern library and information science, was an inspiration for logical positivism’s universalist ambitions.

  2. If you want an example of the philosopher-librarian carried into our own time in the Enlightenment spirit, I recommend the works of Robert Darnton, now head of Harvard’s libraries but a historian who made his reputation by studying how intellectual transmission worked during the 18th century. He’s recently written an interesting book on libraries of the future.

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