I note the recent enthusiasm for talking about library services and IT 
concerns in providing them..  This is not the focus for the jESSE list - 
the 2,000 readers of jESSE are concerned about LIS education in the 
context of higher education in the US, and abroad. We are not concerned 
about specific IT applications for providing library services, as the URL 
in my sig file describes.

   I have no idea what happened to AUTOCAT (for catalogers), LIBREF (for 
strange reference questions) or the many other discussion lists devoted to 
library services in the early days of the Internet and Web.  I have no 
idea what happened to Web4LIB, which tried to apply the Web to library 
services.  I have no idea who (or how) librarians are trying to apply 
social media to library services, or where these discussions would be 
announced.  While this discussion list (jESSE) survives, it is not 
concerned with specific library services in any media.

   Sneaky workaround:  "I am teaching an introductory course in LIS for my 
university's masters program, and know that I have to deal with social 
media.  How are you balancing participation in these services such as 
Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn with the individual student's needs for 
privacy?"  In the late 1990s, it was easy for a student to set up a web 
page and keep it fairly private as a student because there was no general 
access.  In social media, the students have to participate in public to 
gain the experience with these media.  How do you balance the need for 
private learning and public exposure?"

   Sneaky workaround No. 2:  "I am teaching an elective course in LIS for 
my university's masters program in reference services, and I wish to 
evaluate the different media through which patrons can contact an 
information service to ask a question.  Can anyone provide me with a 
framework for the evaluation of options for communication to ask a 
question available to patrons (telephone, e-mail, twitter, our web page, 
electronic discussion lists connected to our library, discussion boards 
connected to our library, Skype, personal appointments in person, personal 
walk-ins)?  The emphasis is on the framework for evaluation, and less on 
the individual capabilities of these tools.  Once the framework for 
evaluation is established, individual capabilities of tools within these 
categories can be evaluated."

   IT applications for library services are of deep concern for 
provision of services both to students and to the public.  Let me point 
you elsewhere for such discussions.

   I do note that the American Library Association has adopted the Sympa 
communication software via e-mail for discussion lists, at

and ALA  offers a whole cafeteria of discussion lists by subject and ALA 
organizations at

which includes reference services, cataloging and classification, and 
legislation, and library management.

   I would strongly encourage jESSE readers who have interests in these 
specific library practices to participate in and encourage the development 
of these community resources within the ALA.  This is where these 
interests in specific library practices belong (AFAICT), as well as 
whatever discussion groups are offered by the Special Libraries Assn, 
Medical, Music, Theological, and other specialized assns are 
participating in the development of electronic communities for their 

   I am not saying that any one participant is limited to belonging to one 
discussion list.  Of course not.  But I would ask that readers place their 
questions and concerns in the most appropriate discussion list.  I would 
ask that you separate your social needs (you took a nap today and had a 
banana) from your professional needs (you wonder if you can undertake a 
project that your are interested in)  from your philosophical needs (you 
wonder why consistent spelling in the English language is important).

   The point here is to encourage you to find your community(ies) which 
share your concerns, and place your questions there.  This is not to stamp 
out your enthusiasm for finding a community of professional readers in 
which you share an interest. It is rather to encourage you to find a 
community in which you share interests, via jESSE, the American Library 
Association, or Facebook, Twitter, or whatever medium fits your social, 
professional, or intellectual interests, and learn and abide by the rules 
of those communities.  .


Gretchen Whitney, PhD, Retired
School of Information Sciences
University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN 37996 USA           [log in to unmask]