On the 28th and 29th of October I had the pleasure of being shown around Digitisation at the Melbourne Museum and the Collection Management practices of Eastern Regional Libraries. There were two points I took away from both tours which I would like to discuss today:

  1. the race that all cultural institutions are a part of, in one way or another, to digitise the information they have in their collections to preserve or make them more accessible,
  2. and a growing trend in some public libraries that collection management is also being out-sourced to publishers.

On the 29th I was lucky enough to spend some time with the ‘Digitisation Master’ at Melbourne Museum. He walked me through how they do it at the Museum, his dreams of new equipment and projects that are currently going on. Even though digitisation, and the opportunities that comes from it, is one of my passions I had not had the chance to see it in action or even try my hand at it.

On the Internet there many guides and standards for digitisation practices. It makes me wonder, with so many of them and with technology moving forward in leaps and bounds, that countries governments should be the ones to instead implement national standards of preservation and digitisation. Currently I can find input from many different institutions from IFLA to small public libraries. Should it be the associations and institutions that makes these decisions? When the information that we are digitising, in most cases, should be the property of everyone in a country? Should governments have a firmer hand in shaping our information standards?

As I become more familiar with how public libraries work these days, it strikes me as odd that so many of the jobs I had associated as part of a librarians role are actually out-sourced. On my tour of Eastern Regional Libraries administration building the Collections Manager and I discussed how some public libraries are also out-sourcing selection of material for library collections. To me this trends seems very similar to ejournal ‘Big Deals’ and how it forces Collection managers to relinquish some control over their collections. I am aware that tightening budgets are why libraries are turning towards these solutions, but are Collection Managers of the future to work in publisher houses instead of libraries?

Well that’s enough of my musing.

Till next time!
DFTBA (Don’t Forget to be Awesome)