Taking the librarian out of the library

We (former) library types must never forget our heritage. Even though we don’t need to wear soft-soled shoes at work any more or speak in that quiet library voice, our skills are more and more useful as the world of information gets messier.

We shouldn’t feel apologetic about our passion for order and consistency – and our championing of the semicolon. People – especially creative people – can be quite dismissive of things like filing, until they want something NOW. “I just search through the sent emails and there should be an attachment.”  “Ah yes, that was around the time my gmail account got hacked / corrupted / wiped.”  “Just bear with me while I search through thousands of old emails.” Of course, those who have a librarian’s discipline will be able to locate the missing bit of information instantly and be considered amazingly well organised.

And then there’s “Just Google it.” as a way of finding out everything. All very well, but how do you know if it’s authoritative, relevant? Or the right amount to be useful to you.

If you don’t want that feeling of ‘drowning in information but thirsty for knowledge’ (as described back in 1995 by Königer and Janowitz), you could do a lot worse than learn a few tricks from your librarian friends.