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The Information Professional
Librarians and Archivists in a fast-changing digital lanscape
Curated by Karen du Toit
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Q&A: how archives make history

Q&A: how archives make history | The Information Professional |

© Copyright HeritageDaily - Heritage & Archaeology News 

The early modern period (1500-1800) saw a surge in the keeping of records. A conference later this week (9-10 April 2014) at the British Academy will look at the origins of the archives that shape our understanding of history.

We asked ten of the conference participants to answer some key questions about archives with particular reference to the period 1500 to 1800.

1. What constitutes an archive in the early modern period?

2. How is our understanding of history shaped by archives?

3. How are archives created?

4. Why were some records kept and others lost – and what can we learn from the gaps, silences and absences? 

5. What can we learn about (and from) the organisation of archives?

6. What archives are you using in your current research?

7. What particular challenges do archives present to you as a researcher?

8. What is the relationship between private and public record-keeping?

9. How can we best facilitate access to archives?

10. What has been your most memorable or frustrating ‘archive moment’?

Karen du Toit's insight:

Great questions for archivists everywhere!

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10 questions about books, libraries, librarians, and schools, by Scott McLeod

10 questions about books, libraries, librarians, and schools, by Scott McLeod | The Information Professional |


"October apparently was ‘Library Month’ for me. I was the keynote speaker for the Minnesota MEMO conference and did a breakout session for the Iowa Library Association (ILA) conference. I also brought Dr. Mike Eisenberg to Iowa for three days to talk with school administrators about technology and information literacy. As a result, I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on books, reading, and the future of libraries and librarians…"

"Random questions

What constitutes a “book” these days? When books become electronic and thus become searchable, hyperlinkable, more accessible to readers with disabilities, and able to embed audio, video, and interactive maps and graphics, at what point do they stop becoming “books” and start becoming something else?"...

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Tackling the questions in 2014 — @joycevalenza #libraries #librarians

Tackling the questions in 2014 — @joycevalenza #libraries #librarians | The Information Professional |


"[...] beginning the year with questions, rather than resolutions.

Jennifer recently asked 11 Questions (About Libraries) That Need Answers.  And Doug Johnson added a few of his own in a Blue Skunk Blog post. (See below.)


Jennifer’s Questions:

How will you make a difference for students?How will you make your work the answer to the priorities/problems that keep your principal up at night?How will you use student data to make instructional and programatic decisions?How will you measure success?How will you connect the dots between your work and student learning?How will you share this data with your administrators and community?How will you ensure your diverse population sees themselves in your space (as well as in your collection)?How will you dispel negative/outdated library stereotypes?How will you grow your PLN?How will you help strengthen our profession by sharing your work beyond the walls of your school.How will you make sure everyone who walks into the library sees a focus on students (instead of stuff).Doug’s Follow Up Questions:What new skills will you learn this year that you can teach your students and staff?What rules can you change to make your library a more user-friendly place?What is your library’s “purple cow?” (Boring is always the riskiest strategy – Godin)How can you demonstrate leadership in your building? What are you willing to take responsibility for?What can you do to get the non-connected members of our profession* who you know connected, changing, and good representatives of the library field?Have you asked yourself about your personal commitment to the field? Are you still a librarian in order to make the world a better place?

Via GwynethJones
Karen du Toit's insight:

Great way to start the new year!

GwynethJones's curator insight, January 12, 2014 11:07 AM

As always, Joyce tracks down & shares the vital questions and provoking conversations of our profession.


Jennifer LaGarde and Doug Johnson fearlessly ask the vital questions.