Regardless, future proofing our workplaces, our industry and our place within that is good business practice. Over on the ILN blog, when we asked a question about the future of the profession we got considered responses from quite a range of our community. It’s the subject of library conference presentations, journal articles, news stories, memes and discussions about workplace culture.
We’ve been having a lot of discussion around this at MPOW over the past year (give or take a bit). So, the May #glamblogclub theme of GLAM3017 resonated somewhat and I am finally putting fingers to keyboard.
The phrase that’s bumping around in my head the most is ‘functional fixedness’ – which I hadn’t heard before we started on this path. For an organisation, it loosely translates as “we’ve always done it that way”. We’re trying really hard to challenge that at the moment – to be the people who ask ‘why not?’ instead.
There’s also plenty of examples of situations where we literally can’t continue to do something the way we’ve always done. This comes up for us time and time again in our digitisation program. We’ve had a variety of approaches to donation agreements and permissions over time, largely in response to prevailing wisdom and requirements of the time. However, when we want to digitise something now, the agreement we filed twenty years ago – long before online access was even a thing – just doesn’t cut it in the permissions stakes. One of my challenges is to ensure we approach this strategically to maximise the future proof-ness of our current day activities and processes.
So that’s my 3017 worry. That (just like now in some ways) we will have these great collections but be unable to unlock them because we couldn’t anticipate the ways people may want to access them in the future. It’s a digital preservation adjacent problem. In this scenario, we’re stuck with 21st century ideas about how those collections might be made available – because we never imagined that we should include holograph or teleport (or that thing we haven’t thought of yet) in the original negotiations permissions.