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lq:volume-1 [2017/01/29 14:42]
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seanburns
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-title: "LQ Vol Issue 1 Article 1: Autoethnographric Study"\\ +====== LQ Volume ======
-date: 2013-07-19 15:19\\ +
-categories: [LQ Autoethno Field Notes, research, Author-Williamson, Affil-Columbia University]\\+
  
-This entry is about:+Notes on the four issues in the first volume of //The Library Quarterly//.
  
-Williamson, C. C. (1931). The place of research in library +Background and in-progress literature review:
-science. //The Library Quarterly, 1//(1), 1-17. +
-url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/40039624+
  
-**Note:** The first article published in //The Library Quarterly// +  [[LQ:Background]] 
-is titled "The Place of Research in Library Service."+  [[LQ:Literature-review]]
  
-It was written by C. C. Williamson, who was affiliated with:+**Notes:**
  
-**Affiliation:** School of Library Service, Columbia University +  [[LQ:Volume 1 Issue 1]] 
- +  [[LQ:Volume 1 Issue 2]] 
-**Note:** The author's name is listed at the end of the article and +  [[LQ:Volume 1 Issue 3]] 
-not at the beginning. +  [[LQ:Volume 1 Issue 4]]
- +
-**Note:** The article is written in first person. This may be due to +
-the conventions at the time, but according to the first footnote, +
-the article is based on a speech that was delivered in 1930. Use +
-of the first person could be due to that. +
- +
-**Note:** A number of literary references are made at the beginning of +
-the article. +
- +
-**Note:** The article itself is about showing the value, or convincing +
-young library students the value, of doing research. +
- +
-**Note:** He begins with the questions, still asked today, but often +
-asked of him at the time: +
- +
-> "What is the future of library service?" "Will it offer me a +
-> satisfactory career?" (p. 2). +
- +
-**Note:** A point about the profession: +
- +
-> Development it seems to me has been too largely of a +
-> quantitative rather than a qualitative character (p. 2). +
- +
-**Note:** Another point about the profession, which is relevant +
-today, and about the increase in assistants (or perhaps, +
-//paraprofessionals//, although that term may be anachronistic): +
- +
-> It is difficult to detect improvement in the professional status +
-> of the librarian. The demand for so-called trained assistants +
-> has increased notably in volume" (p. 3). +
- +
-**Note:** He lists a number of improvements in the next few sentences, +
-but he ends his list with this comment about the not so great +
-improvements for the librarian: +
- +
-> Salaries, and at the same time the prestige, of the more +
-> important administrative positions have increased in a +
-> significant way, but for the rank and file little progress seems +
-> to be made in remuneration and in other evidences of +
-> satisfactory professional status (p. 3). +
- +
-**Note:** This is in agreement with what Arthur T. Hamlin (1981) wrote +
-about the professional status of academic librarians. +
-Specifically, it took 13 years after Williamson's essay for +
-academic librarians to gain faculty status. Hamlin wrote: +
- +
-> In 1944 the University of Illinois achieved full faculty status +
-> and rank for all of its professional staff. It was the first +
-> major university to take the step. Others followed with partial +
-> or complete recognition in the 1950s and sixties. By the early +
-> seventies the majority of universities has swung over to +
-> recognition of most, if not all, of the professional staff as +
-> members of the faculty, often with faculty ranks and titles +
-> (Hamlin, 1981, p. 120).  +
- +
-**Note:** Williamson believes that the professional status of +
-librarians, their prestige, is not being advanced because they are +
-not doing research. It doesn't seem to matter, to him, whether +
-that research is of a natural science kind, a social science kind, +
-or a humanistic kind, but simply that it is not being done. +
- +
-Williamson's comment is, in a sense, in agreement with what +
-Hamlin, Shiflett, Carpenter, and Wiegand write. Specifically about +
-the culture of the primacy of knowledge creation over knowledge +
-dissemination. See: +
- +
-Carpenter, K. E. (1996). A library historian looks at +
-librarianship. //Daedalus, 125//(4), 77-102. +
-url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/20027387 +
- +
-Hamlin, A. T. (1981). //The University Library in the United +
-States: Its Origins and Development//. Philadelphia: University of +
-Pennsylvania Press. +
-url:http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/7276988 +
- +
-Shiflett, O. L. (1981). //Origins of American Academic +
-Librarianship. Libraries and Librarianship//. Norwood, New Jersey: +
-Ablex Publishing Corporation. +
-url:http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/7836638 +
- +
-Wiegand, W. A. (1990). Research libraries, the ideology of +
-reading, and scholarly communication, 1876-1900. In P. Dain & +
-J. Y. Cole (Eds.) //Libraries and Scholarly Communication in the +
-United States: The Historical Dimension// (pp. 71-87). New York: +
-Greenwod Press. +
-url:http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/20218333 +
- +
-Williamson goes on to cite a number of statistics and examples of +
-how and why research is important, and how quickly it is growing +
-in other fields. Then he notes its total absence in the library +
-field: +
- +
-> What about research in the library field? A little sporadic work +
-> here and there by individuals that may possibly be classified as +
-> research. No organized or co-operative plans, or only the +
-> beginnings of such in two or three university library schools. +
-> No money appropriated anywhere, so far as I know, specifically +
-> for research in library service. Not a single person employed +
-> anywhere by a library or a library system to study problems of +
-> library service. No research fellowships. No research +
-> professorships (p. 5). +
- +
-Then this comment that pertains to **The Library Quarterly**. +
-Recall that this article is essentially a reprint or a first +
-printing of an earlier address, which is why it mentions the +
-future of this publication even though it's printed in this +
-publication: +
- +
-> One of the most hopeful indications that this condition may soon +
-> be remedied is the fact that the Carnegie Corporation has +
-> recently appropriated $25,000 to assist in starting a new +
-> library journal to be edited and published at the Graduate +
-> Library School of the University of Chicago (p. 5). +
- +
-**Note:** It's interesting to think that the term **library science** +
-precedes the actual science of library related research: +
- +
-> Not infrequently I have been pessimistic enough about this +
-> situation [that there is no research in the fieldto wonder +
-> whether there is any justification for using the term "library +
-> science." When the new library school was started at Columbia +
-> four years ago we evaded the question by calling it a "school of +
-> library service." That there is such a thing as library service +
-> no one can doubt, and personally I do not doubt that it ought to +
-> be based on a library science, but I wish the scientific +
-> character of our professional activities and of our professional +
-> literature were more obvious" (pp. 5-6). +
- +
-**Note:** Williamson notes that to do library science depends on how +
-science is defined. First, he refers to Frederick Barry'+
-**Scientific Habit of Thought**. In essence, what is important is +
-a **scientific attitude** based on rational investigation. Second, +
-He refers to John Dewey and his work **The Sources of a Science of +
-Education**, which argues that science is about the methods +
-involved and not the subject matter. +
- +
-**Reflection:** Some of this discussion is based on the (now obsolete) +
-notion of William James' types of *men*: the tough-minded (the +
-scientific mind) and the tender-minded (the artistic mind). I'm +
-not disregarding Dewey's overall thoughts on scientific knowledge, +
-empirical knowledge, and so forth, just this classification as a +
-truthful psychological classification. Of course, although that +
-classification may be obsolete, it's relevant in the sense that +
-many may often still think of people that way, if only as an +
-unquestioned world-view used to judge and classify the various +
-roles that exist. While I am enjoying this article and think +
-there's a lot of good points here, Williamson adds that librarians +
-may be composed of people of the tender-minded sort. So his +
-acceptance of William James' classification is problematic. If we +
-reject that premise, but pursue the same end game (that of a +
-library science as a research science), then what new premise do +
-we accept? +
- +
-**Note:** Interesting discussion of empirical versus scientific on +
-pages 7 and 8.  +
- +
-> library science is purely empirical. The average librarians is +
-> an empiricist, not a scientist. Most administrative practices +
-> and technical procedures are followed because they have been +
-> tried somewhere and have been found to work. What psychological +
-> or other principles are involved is unknown (p. 8). +
- +
-How has library science (or library and information science) +
-schools changed this? This has been examined. See, for example: +
- +
-VanScoy, A. (2010). Reference librarians' personal theories of +
-practice: A new approach to studying reference service. In M.L. +
-Radford, & R.D. Lankes (Eds.), *Creating the Reference +
-Renaissance: Current & Future Trends* (pp. 115-128). New York: +
-Neal-Schuman. url: +
-http://www.amyvanscoy.net/uploads/5/7/7/9/5779319/vanscoy_refren_chapter_6.pdf +
- +
-**Note:** here Williamson quotes John Dewey in //How We Think//: +
- +
-> Empirical inference follows the grooves and ruts that custom +
-> wears, and has no track to follow when the groove +
-> disappears....."Skill enables a man to deal with the same +
-> circumstances that he has met before, scientific thought enables +
-> him to deal with different circumstances that he has never met +
-> before.".... (pp. 8 - 9). +
- +
-**Note:** Williamson makes an interesting turn on page 9. Let me quote +
-a series of statements: +
- +
-> You may infer from what I have just been saying that librarians +
-> lack the scientific attitude, are tender-minded rather than +
-> tough-minded, think empirically rather than scientifically. No, +
-> that is not my conclusion (p. 9). +
- +
-Then: +
- +
-> Can it be that there are no problems in library service that +
-> call for scientific research? .... No .... (p. 9). +
- +
-Then: +
- +
-> A second possible reason that there is so little research in the +
-> field of library service is that if it is a science at all and +
-> not an art, it is only an applied science and that the necessary +
-> research is therefore carried on in the underlying +
-> sciences---psychology, social science, political science, etc. +
-> (pp. 9-10). +
- +
-He dismisses that idea. And writes that: +
- +
-> To my mind the real reason that there is so little study of the +
-> problems of library science is that practically no librarians +
-> have been trained in scientific methods (p. 10). +
- +
-He adds other issues that have prevented a //library science//: +
-organizations are too small and a +
- +
-> deep-rooted prejudice among library workers against subjecting +
-> their activities to scientific scrutiny (p. 10). +
- +
-**Note:** that first point, that the organizations may be too small, +
-suggests that automation was one, although I should add not the +
-only, causation of library science. This is in the sense that +
-library automation and computerization connected libraries +
-together -- such that no library would henceforth exist as an +
-island. Think, for example, of Ralph Parker's piece: +
- +
-Parker, R. H. (June 1967). The small library faces the future. +
-*ALA Bulletin*, 669-671. +
-url:http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/4896241619 +
- +
-**Note:** This sentiment has been mentioned before, particularly,+
-believe, in Hamlin and Shiflett's work (mentioned above): +
- +
-> We hear it said now and then by librarians of long experience +
-> and high position that there is not sufficient content in the +
-> field of library science to justify programs of study leading to +
-> the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or even a Master's degree (p. +
-> 10). +
- +
-**Note:** Important to his argument -- method is primary: +
- +
-> Nothing short of a lifetime is sufficient to learn all that a +
-> librarian needs to know! The important thing is training in +
-> scientific methods of attacking and solving problems, the +
-> cultivation of the scientific spirit and attitude. As soon as +
-> this is recognized and acted upon, library science will become a +
-> reality. Until that time librarians, no matter how many facts +
-> they carry in their heads, will be looked upon as clerks and +
-> routinists (p. 11). +
- +
-Here I think of Abbott: +
- +
-Abbott, A. (2004). Methods of discovery: Heuristics for the social +
-sciences. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. +
-url:http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/827690286 +
- +
-**Note:** This counters those, especially among certain higher +
-education administrations in the 20th century (and librarians +
-too), thought of libraries as simply warehouses: +
- +
-> Those who see no field for research in library service or need +
-> of advanced training for librarianship simply fail to recognize +
-> the fundamental complexity of library science. To most +
-> librarians, as to almost all others, it presents an entirely +
-> false appearance of simplicity (p. 12). +
- +
-**Note:** Williamson then makes a number of great points about how +
-other professions, i.e., psychology, sociology, statistics, etc., +
-cannot do the work of library science. Although library science +
-may draw from these fields, its issues are its own. Those other +
-fields, if they were to study libraries, would, Williamson argues, +
-examine the issues from their perspectives, thus contributing to +
-the problem of //Déformation +
-professionnelle// (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9formation_professionnelle), +
-or the "tendency to look at things from the point of view of one'+
-own profession," although he doesn't use that term. +
- +
-**Reflection:** I've been thinking a lot lately about the problem of +
-//déformation professionnelle// with respect to the differences or +
-approaches between **library science** and **information +
-science**. Specifically, if a purely information scientist, that +
-is, someone without a background or an invested interest in +
-library science, recommends something for libraries, under what +
-conceptual framework should that be considered and how should that +
-be evaluated? Here I'm thinking of a recent example: when the +
-*altmetrics* researchers suggest something in their domain is +
-beneficial to librarians and their work, does the point of view of +
-their recommendation include what library science has deemed to be +
-beneficial, or is the point of view solely an information science +
-one, where that view has been divorced from its sibling? +
-Furthermore, how do librarians accept or respond to such +
-recommendations. See: +
- +
-Lapinski, S., Piwowar, H., & Priem, J. (2013 June). Riding the +
-crest of the almetrics wave. *College and Research Libraries News, +
-74*(6), 292-300. +
-url:http://crln.acrl.org/content/74/6/292.full +
- +
-So, Williamson adds: +
- +
-> The psychologist cannot do the librarian's job; the sociologist +
-> cannot do it (p. 13). +
- +
-Has information science and library science diverged so much, in +
-some cases at least, where we might substitute psychologist or +
-sociologist in Williamson's statement with information scientist? +
-The end point being library science can incorporate information +
-science theory and knowledge, but it is not itself information +
-science? +
- +
-**Note:** Williamson then proceeds to discuss several other really +
-interesting issues, all of which, it seems to me, are still quite +
-relevant, discussed, and pursued today. I'll just mention these +
-things generally: the nature and problems with data collection, +
-what type of library science research could be undertaken, the +
-education of librarians where the end goal is not to make +
-researchers but librarians who can research, and the improvement +
-to library teaching as a result of a increased research.  +
- +
-**Reflection**: This was a fascinating article and surely a great +
-introduction for //The Library Quarterly// in its inaugural issue. +
-I'm going to hold back, for now, on some autoethnographic +
-responses, but I'll get to it later, as I read more of this and +
-later issues. I especially want to get a sense of the character of +
-this first issue in order to see if there is something coherent +
-about it as a whole. This is important to one of the purposes of +
-this research project --- to understand the nature of the journal +
-as a collective thing (a one). +
- +
-**Reflection**: The discussion about whether *library science* is +
-a science is interesting, in the sense that it's similar to a +
-discussion that still sometimes happens today, about whether +
-*information science* is a science. Will we still be having this +
-discussion in another 80 years, in 2090?+
lq/volume-1.1485718936.txt.gz · Last modified: 2017/01/29 14:42 by seanburns